A chest or lung ultrasound is a non-invasive diagnostic test done to visualize the organs and structures within the chest, including the lungs, heart, aorta and trachea as well as the pleural space. Ultrasound provides a quick visualization of the organs, which in this case, may be useful to make a diagnosis for a respiratory condition or lung disorder.
A chest or lung ultrasound may be used to view the lungs and the presence of excess fluid in the pleural space. Fluid may be an indication of a leak from a blood or lymph vessel, or due to inflammation, infection or even cancer. A rib fracture, oedema, lymphadenopathy and soft tissue infections can also be diagnosed through a lung ultrasound.
Ultrasound uses sound waves, which through a transducer travel at different speeds through the tissue. These reflected sound waves are then returned to the transducer and converted by a computer into an image to give a visualisation of the internal structures and tissues of that particular area.
Lung ultrasound is no different. It is done by your pulmonologist, focused on the chest and lungs. You will be asked to sit with your arms raised so that Dr Mothilal can move the transducer around your chest, front and back. You may be asked to move your position so that all areas can be viewed. He may also ask you to cough or sniff so that he can see the movement of the lungs while doing the ultrasound. The entire procedure shouldn't take more than 30 minutes and should not be painful.