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Transthoracic ultrasonographic evaluation of diaphragmatic excursion in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease



Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a multisystem disorder that mainly besides the lungs also affects the muscle mass. The force generated by the respiratory muscles decreases, resulting in a negative effect on ventilation and exercise capacity. Recent studies have reported that M-mode ultrasonography is reliable and relatively easy to use for assessment of diaphragmatic motion.


To evaluate diaphragmatic excursion by M-mode ultrasonography in patients with COPD and to correlate it with different clinical and ventilatory variables.

Patients and methods

A total of 40 patients with COPD who attended Chest Diseases Department Al-Azhar University Hospitals from January 2017 to May 2017 were recruited in this study. Informed consent was obtained. Diagnosis and severity of COPD was made according to the Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease guidelines. All patients in this study were subjected to full medical history, clinical examination, pulmonary function tests, calculation of BMI, arterial blood gases analysis, 6-min walk test, and ultrasound imaging of the diaphragm.


Diaphragmatic excursion during quiet breathing did not differ significantly between the patients and the controls (P=0.085). However, during deep breathing, the degree of diaphragmatic excursion was lower in the patients (P=0.001). Diaphragmatic excursion during deep breathing correlated significantly with disease severity(r=0.86); the percentage of the predicted forced expiratory volume in the first second, forced vital capacity, and forced expiratory volume in the first second/forced vital capacity (r=0.84, 0.72, and 0.80, respectively); and the 6-min walk test (r=0.47). Conclusion M-mode ultrasonography is an easy, noninvasive and inexpensive method for evaluation of diaphragmatic excursion. Patients with COPD had significantly lower diaphragmatic excursion than normal ones.


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Correspondence to Ayman Amin MD.

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Amin, A., Zedan, M. Transthoracic ultrasonographic evaluation of diaphragmatic excursion in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Egypt J Bronchol 12, 27–32 (2018).

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Key words

  • chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases
  • diaphragmatic excursion
  • transthoracic ultrasonography