A New Way of Looking at Your Lungs
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Last updated:19th Sep 2013
There is increasing interest in how thoracic (chest) ultrasound might enhance the management of patients with respiratory failure and breathlessness, particularly in the emergency admissions or intensive care setting. Thoracic ultrasound is already used in a number of clinical settings. It is recognised that a number of lung abnormalities can be identified using thoracic ultrasound, such as consolidation (in pneumonia) or peripheral soft tissue lesions (in lung cancer). Furthermore, thoracic ultrasound offers clinicians a non-invasive diagnostic tool that provides immediate feedback and results. Patients with breathlessness and respiratory failure represent a significant proportion of emergency admissions to hospital and commonly require urgent treatment with limited information available to guide the clinician. The range of diseases that present with breathing difficulties is broad (e.g. pneumonia, heart failure, pulmonary embolus) and difficult to differentiate in patients who often have multiple medical problems. This leads to non-specific treatment in the face of diagnostic uncertainty with the associated risks of treatment complications, increased morbidity and mortality, and distress for patients and relatives. It is in the assessment of these patients with acute respiratory failure where thoracic ultrasound might be of greatest benefit and which this research is designed to address. This is a single centre study (Churchill Hospital, Oxford) recruiting 125 participants over an eight month period. The study will test the reliability of a thoracic ultrasound protocol at identifying lung abnormalities in a stable outpatient population with respiratory disease (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; interstitial lung disease; patients on haemodialysis to replicate acute pulmonary oedema / heart failure). It is hoped the results of this study will inform further research in acutely unwell patients with respiratory failure and breathlessness to see whether thoracic ultrasound can improve diagnostic and therapeutic decisions.
|Study start date||2013-09-19|