CARDIOVASCULARULTRASOUND Lung ultrasound: a new tool for the cardiologist Gargani Gargani Cardiovascular Ultrasound 2011, 9:6 http://www.cardiovascularultrasound.com/content/9/1/6 (27 February 2011) Multiple B-lines are the sonographic sign of lung interstitial syndrome. the ultrasound beam finds the lung air and no image is visible. because no acoustic mismatch may reflect the beam. a French intensivist. National Research Council of Pisa. In 1994. However.org/licenses/by/2. pulmonary fibrosis. All diagnostic ultrasound methods are based on the principle that ultrasound is reflected by an interface between media with different acoustic impedance. moving synchronously with respiration (see additional file 1). hyperechoic image. convex. In 2004. and reproduction in any medium.Gargani Cardiovascular Ultrasound 2011. and moves synchronously with respiration. and some images appear.it Institute of Clinical Physiology.cardiovascularultrasound. and in the prognostic stratification of chronic heart failure and acute coronary syndromes. comparing ultrasound findings with chest computed tomography (CT) . but the acknowledgement of the information provided by artifacts represented a completely new approach. A B-line is a discrete. describing the correlation between EVLW assessed by chest X-ray. . with any transducer (phasedarray. clinical [10-14]. experimental [8. and their number increases along with decreasing air content (see additional file 2). CT data showed that B-lines were correlated to the thickening of subpleural interlobular septa in pulmonary interstitial edema. The modern era of lung ultrasound (LUS) was born. Multiple B-lines are present in pulmonary congestion. Background Sonographic prejudices: the history of lung ultrasound For many years ultrasound has not been employed for the evaluation of the lung . Methodology LUS examination can be performed using any commercially available 2-D scanner.4]. brought LUS from the Intensive Care Unit to the Cardiology Department. the acoustic window on Correspondence: [email protected]
licensee BioMed Central Ltd. such as in lung consolidations. the ultrasound beam finds subpleural interlobular septa thickened by edema. that arises from the pleural line. In normal conditions.as in pulmonary edema. semiquantification and monitoring of extravascular lung water.0). Picano and Jambrik. etc. In the following years. it has been recently shown that lung ultrasound (LUS) may represent a useful tool for the evaluation of many pulmonary conditions in cardiovascular disease. that LUS had already been employed since many years for the evaluation of pleural effusion (PE). The main application of LUS for the cardiologist is the assessment of B-lines. © 2011 Gargani. When the air content is further decreased. Consolidations may be then measured and followed-up. In the presence of extravascular lung water (EVLW). visualized as a hyperechoic horizontal line. It is true indeed. But it was Daniel Lichtenstein. in the differential diagnosis of dyspnea. The only detectable structure is the pleura. distribution. linear-array. with aerated lungs. which permits unrestricted use. and to the fibrotic thickening in pulmonary fibrosis. vertical. . laser-like.the acoustic mismatch needed to reflect the ultrasound beam is created. There is no need for a second harmonic or Doppler imaging mode. When the air content decreases . 9:6 http://www. who established for the first time the 2 main structural correlates of B-lines. Targetta firstly described the presence of B-lines in diseased lungs . microconvex).com/content/9/1/6 REVIEW CARDIOVASCULAR ULTRASOUND Open Access Lung ultrasound: a new tool for the cardiologist Luna Gargani Abstract For many years the lung has been considered off-limits for ultrasound. Italy the lung becomes completely open. and the lung may be directly visualized as a solid parenchyma. and methodological  validation of B-lines have been provided. and the number of B-lines detected by LUS . in our laboratory.cnr.9]. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons. as the liver or the spleen (figure 1). called B-lines or ultrasound lung comets. originating from water-thickened pulmonary interlobular septa. B-lines are reverberation artifacts. There are some anectodical reports on B-lines since the eighties [3. The reflection of the beam creates some comet-tail reverberation artifacts. and may help in the detection. extends to the bottom of the screen without fading. which is rapidly dissipated by air . provided the original work is properly cited. when they are more numerous. According to recent 2009 AHA/ACC guidelines. . and with high interobserver variability . but it is often difficult to interpret and imprecise. a whole white screen is considered as corresponding to a plateau value of 10 B-lines. Midaxillary Anterior axillary Midclavicular Para. When using a cardiac probe. the full white screen in a single scanning site is considered.the sum of B-lines found on each scanning site yields a score. In this situation. similar to what is done for most echocardiographic parameters .the most informative LUS sign for the cardiologist . Each hyperechogenic vertical stripe. 2006 ). the percentage of white screen compared to black screen) and then divide it by ten (figure 3). . Clinical applications Heart failure Diagnosis In a 1994 review on the assessment of EVLW. Sometimes B-lines can be easily enumerated. Patients can be in the near-supine. from fully equipped machines to pocket size ones . The less air is in the lung. especially if they are a few. 2004 ). and from the parasternal to the axillary line. B-lines may be categorized from mild to severe degree. respectively . For clinical purposes. 4 on the right and 4 on the left hemithorax. Thoracic scanning areas for semiquantitative assessment of B-lines.e. denoting the extent of extravascular fluid in the lung. is so inherently attractive that the effort to develop and validate such technique still continues after many years of tireless and relatively unrewarding attempts» . around 5% and 7%. B-lines have a very satisfactory intraobserver and interobserver variability. as previously described [7. When assessing B-lines . the easier is the detection of lung abnormalities by ultrasound. Lange stated that «The possibility to detect pulmonary edema before it becomes clinically apparent. In each scanning site. just laying the probe along the intercostal spaces. for instance by Volpicelli et al. it is less easy to clearly enumerate them. The absence of chest X-ray findings does not exclude the presence of a high pulmonary capillary wedge pressure (PCWP) .17]. from the second to the fourth (on the right side to the fifth) intercostal spaces. Chest X-ray remains by far the best and most used screening test for the detection of pulmonary edema. since they tend to be confluent. some specific methods have been proposed: ultrasound scanning of the anterior and lateral chest may be obtained on the right and left hemithorax. All the chest can be easily scanned by ultrasound. one can consider the percentage of Full white screen = 10 B-lines Figure 3 How to enumerate B-lines. Other approaches have been proposed. as clinically indicated . (table 1). the scanning site occupied by B-lines (i. 9:6 http://www. is a B-line. whereas. Score Number of B-lines Extravascular lung water 0 ≤5 No sign 1 2 6 . supine or sitting position. since they are too insensitive to detect but the most extreme Table 1 Scoring of B-lines III IV V Figure 2 Methodology for lung ultrasound evaluation. Zero is defined as a complete absence of B-lines in the investigated area. (figure 2). in order to obtain a semiquantification of the sign.30 Mild degree Moderate degree 3 > 30 Severe degree (Modified from Picano et al. when using a cardiac probe. spreading from the pleural line and extending to the edge of the screen. as corresponding to 10 B-lines (figure 3). (Modified from Jambrik et al. B-lines may be counted from zero to ten.15 16 . serial chest Xrays are not recommended in the assessment of pulmonary congestion in chronic heart failure (HF). with evaluation of 8 scanning sites. However.com/content/9/1/6 Page 3 of 9 “GREY” Normal Mild/moderate interstitial edema Se ere Severe interstitial edema/ alveolar edema Consolidation No B-lines One B-line Three B-lines Five B-lines Two B-lines Air 100% 0% Figure 1 Physical basis of lung ultrasound.Inter-costal space sternal II Parasternal Midclavicular Anterior axillary Midaxillary left side right side The examination can be performed with any type of echographic platform.cardiovascularultrasound.Gargani Cardiovascular Ultrasound 2011. but its invasive nature limits clinical utility. In less than ten years.Gargani Cardiovascular Ultrasound 2011. quantification and monitoring of pulmonary congestion is important for the clinician at all stages of care of the HF patient. or invasive (indicator dilution). consolidations. Chest X-ray is the most used screening test for in-hospital follow-up of pulmonary congestion. and to the severity of diastolic dysfunction. and weight gain may reflect normal fluctuations in time. the proposal to use B-lines to evaluate pulmonary congestion in HF patients. since B-lines were present in all patients with cardiogenic edema. B-lines have been proposed as a reliable ultrasound technique for the assessment of pulmonary congestion in HF patients. as body weight fluctuations may not always reflect changes in intravascular volume. they could aid when natriuretic peptides levels are in the “grey zone”. from patients with stress-induced high left ventricular filling pressures and failure of the alveolarcapillary membrane. Moreover.. In presence of a radiopacity on chest X-ray. B-lines are very dynamic. Lichtenstein et al. The presence of Blines at peak stress can distinguish patients with stressinduced high left ventricular filling pressures but without failure of the alveolar-capillary membrane (hemodynamic congestion). as we found that Blines are reliable in predicting the cardiogenic origin of dyspnea. or when there is no time enough to perform it. In HF patients. for any given level of systolic dysfunction . These data were further confirmed by our group. it has been endorsed by a scientific statement by the Acute Heart Failure Committee of the Heart Failure Association of the European Society of Cardiology as future direction for assessing and grading congestion in acute HF .24]. The effusion should firstly be sought in dependent zones. to EVLW measured invasively by the thermodilution method . masses or an elevated hemidiaphragm. Thus. Direct measurement of PCWP via catheterization is the gold standard to evaluate hemodynamic congestion. Sonographic B-lines are related to radiographic Kerley B-lines and lung water score on chest X-ray .com/content/9/1/6 changes in the fluid status . with a radiation-free and portable method. Bedside chest X-ray rarely detects small effusions and can also miss effusions of up to 500 mL . and weight loss . firstly described that B-lines could differentiate acute cardiogenic pulmonary edema from exacerbation of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). both in patients with and without left ventricular dysfunction . and indicate the appropriate area for an eventual thoracentesis. and can be repeated serially at bedside. as shown by their rapid increase after exercise. However. it has a limited reliability as a predictor of congestion status. LUS may also enable the detection of PE. not inferable by any other echocardiographic parameter. whereas 24 of the 26 patients with exacerbation of COPD had no B-lines. LUS has a better sensitivity and reliability than bedside chest X-ray for the diagnosis of PE . An “alveolar-capillary stress echo” is possible by evaluation of B-lines changes during stress. there is great potential for a technology that could quantify pulmonary edema non-invasively in real time. 9:6 http://www. lateral and posterior chest. because the current technology for measuring pulmonary edema can be inaccurate (chest X-ray). They can be easily added to wall motion score index and valvular heart disease assessment during stress echocardiography. Page 4 of 9 Peak E/E’ Peak B-lines normal no congestion elevated hemodynamic congestion elevated pulmonary congestion Figure 4 Alveolar-capillary membrane stress echo. Treatment The recognition. Recently. has moved from the research setting to the clinical arena. and it is now entering recommendation papers [23. LUS is able to better differentiate PE from atelectasis. LUS may detect the effusion. that leads to redistribution of ﬂuid within the lungs (pulmonary congestion) (figure 4). Another way to monitor congestion is through monitoring body weight. with a sensitivity of 100% and a specificity of 92% . B-lines are useful for the differential diagnosis of cardiogenic versus non-cardiogenic dyspnea. B-lines could be a plausible alternative in acute settings where natriuretic peptide analysis is not available. providing the additional information of the appearance of EVLW. The number of B-lines increases with worsening New York Heart Association (NYHA) functional class .cardiovascularultrasound.e. as in patients with rapidly developing acute respiratory failure. i. although showing the above mentioned limitations. The additional value of B-lines evaluation during stress echocardiography. with an accuracy comparable to natriuretic peptides . Evaluation of PE is the more established application of LUS . evaluate its extension. cumbersome (nuclear medicine and radiology techniques). Accurate assessment of effectiveness of medical treatment is mandatory in these patients . From a practical point of view. that is not adequately recognised and treated before discharge. low-technology echographic device may allow B-lines detection. shows a significant increase in B-lines number. but are not present in cardiogenic pulmonary edema: alterations of the pleura. On the other hand. associated to some very easy echocardiographic parameters of left and right cardiac function. The dynamic behaviour of B-lines is highlighted also by their significant reduction after dialysis . presence of spared areas more frequently posterior at lung basis Other LUS signs pleural effusion pleural effusion pleural effusion. bilateral (white lung) multiple. In ARDS. the rate of new hospitalization for progression of HF was also higher in patients with severe B-lines and lower in patients without B-lines . due to small subpleural consolidations. the number of B-lines. the cardiologist may sometimes need to differentiate ARDS from cardiogenic pulmonary edema. where even an old. that is more reliable than body weight Page 5 of 9 changes. ARDS = acute respiratory distress syndrome.Gargani Cardiovascular Ultrasound 2011. LUS = lung ultrasound. B-lines assessment may be useful at all stages of HF management: in outpatients. Pharmacological therapy could be tailored as soon as the patient. to monitor increasing EVLW as a sign of impending decompensation. they may represent a useful bedside tool to monitor. at least in theory. prevent some new hospitalizations for worsening dyspnea. Although not frequently. in patients admitted with acute dyspnea to the Emergency Room. LUS showed a sensitivity of 98% and a specificity of 88% in diagnosing the presence of the interstitial syndrome as seen at CT. diuretic therapy response . It has been demonstrated that in patients admitted to the hospital with dyspnea and/or chest pain. pleural alterations. Differential diagnosis between acute cardiogenic pulmonary edema and ARDS may often be difficult. since they are often found in ARDS. B-lines resolution occurs real-time as fluid is removed from the body . defined as areas of normal sonographic lung appearance surrounded by areas of multiple B-lines. there are some clues that may help to differentiate the two conditions. “spared areas”. hand-held devices. LUS may provide a very early detection of pulmonary edema . non-fatal myocardial infarction and new admission for acute decompensated HF . for the primary diagnosis of acute HF syndromes. Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome Acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) is a common syndrome of diffuse lung injury with a high mortality rate . This could. large consolidations of various size . diffuse. The simplicity and low-techology of this examination makes it appealing also for an out-hospital office monitoring of HF patients.com/content/9/1/6 due to loss of muscle/fat (cardiac cachexia) may obscure increased fluid retention . In regard to future HF hospitalizations alone. whereas a worse outcome was observed in patients with a severe degree of B-lines. as they clear after adequate medical treatment. diffuse. easy-to-use. Being a condition of pulmonary edema. The 16-month event-free survival showed a significantly better outcome for patients without B-lines. in Acute cardiogenic pulmonary edema Chronic heart failure ALI/ARDS Pulmonary fibrosis Clinical setting acute chronic h i acute chronic h i B-lines number ++++ +/++/+++ ++++ +/++/+++ B-lines distribution multiple. Prognosis Persistent hemodynamic congestion. multiple B-lines associated to pleural alterations. In patients with acute coronary syndromes. the sonographic pattern of multiple Blines is present in ARDS as well as in cardiogenic pulmonary edema. in a real-time fashion. suggesting that this method could be easily employed in all situations where a dynamic evaluation of fluid changes is of importance. In patients with acute dyspnea. Figure 5 How to distinguish different etiologies of interstitial syndrome by lung ultrasound. bilateral. portable. and for prognostic stratification at discharge. parenchymal consolidations of various size pleural thickening Echocardiogram abnormal abnormal likely normal likely normal ALI = acute lung injury. provide a clear prognostic stratification in a composite end-point including death. performing better than both auscultation and chest X-ray . The possibility to assess B-lines with light. represented by subpleural consolidations. 9:6 http://www. the presence of B-lines identifies a subgroup at higher risk of experiencing events: the higher the number of B-lines. could also allow the cardiologist to evaluate the degree of decompensation at patients’ home . although asymptomatic. are highly suggestive of non-cardiogenic pulmonary edema (Figure 5). since symptoms would appear with some days of delay . and not as part of the combined end-point.cardiovascularultrasound. is associated with adverse clinical outcome in HF patients . post-discharge freedom of pulmonary congestion is associated with a better prognosis . However. following decubitant regions (black and white lung) non-homogeneous distribution. . Since B-lines can be dissolved in a few minutes by an acute diuretic load. especially in Intensive Care Unit. during hospitalization for risk stratification and to titrate therapies. alternative diagnostic tool for clinically monitoring pulmonary congestion in HF patients . the worse the outcome. although non-cardiogenic. B-lines have been proposed as a bedside. M-mode performed at the lung point. Being a nondependent condition. both in acute and chronic settings. but also in the follow-up: bedside LUS is able to adequately estimate lung recruitment induced by positive endexpiratory pressure (PEEP) . Radiographically “occult” PTX may rapidly progress to tension PTX. LUS is useful not only in the diagnosis. such as high-frequency ventilation. Pulmonary fibrosis Being a sign of thickened pulmonary interstitium.as in systemic sclerosis . LUS may be of great help in resource-limited settings. the only pathognomonic LUS sign of PNX is the lung point. in the supine patient PTX should be sought at first at the least gravitationally dependent areas. and sensitivity of about 65%. moreover cardiogenic B-lines can be dissolved in a few hours by an acute diuretic load . The deep artifacts follow the lung sliding. indicating complete absence of dynamics at the level of. (Modified from Lichtenstein et al. allowing in a few minutes the evaluation of pulmonary congestion. can be safely attributed to a reduction in lung water content. Absence of lung sliding is a basic and initial step for the diagnosis . panel B). if its diagnosis is missed or delayed. Normal lung pattern on M-mode: the seashore sign. and below. as in high altitude pulmonary edema [39. because fibrotic accumulation often starts posteriorly at lung basis.cardiovascularultrasound. with a high significant correlation between CT and ultrasound lung reaeration scores . panel A).cardiogenic/watery and pneumogenic/fibrotic B-lines .can pose a challenge to differential diagnosis. progressing more lateral. as decubitant regions) . no . When aimed to evaluate pulmonary fibrosis. etc.B-lines may be an additive tool for an early detection and semiquantification of lung involvement. Lung sliding is the dynamic horizontal movement of the pleural line. with a specificity of 100%. a pattern called the stratosphere sign. Blines may also be present in pulmonary fibrosis [49. In ARDS. massive atelectasis. Evaluation of B-lines may also provide prognostic stratification .50]. However. In patients with known pulmonary fibrosis or at high risk to develop it . where the regular reappearance of the lung sliding replaces the PTX pattern. Another condition needed for a LUS diagnosis of PTX is the absence of B-lines: the slightest B-line allows prompt ruling out of PTX . LUS should be considered as an extension of the echocardiogram. 2000 ). 9:6 http://www. synchronized with respiration (see additional file 1). Bedside chest Xrays are often very difficult to interpret. The presence of lung sliding allows PTX to be confidently discounted because the negative predictive value is 100% . opposed to the normal seashore sign. that allows PTX to be confirmed. where an early diagnosis of ARDS can be lifesaving. M-mode yields a simple pattern. but also on posterior chest. Acute coronary syndromes In acute coronary syndromes. although some parameters may help distinguish the two entities: cardiogenic B-lines are always bilateral and are generally more diffuse on the right lung than on the left lung. the stratosphere sign A B C Figure 6 A.Gargani Cardiovascular Ultrasound 2011. B-lines changes associated with clinical improvement. severe fibrosis. Pneumothorax Pneumothorax (PTX) can occur after cardiothoracic surgery.40] and after apnea diving . The abolition of lung sliding can be also evaluated by M-mode. Lung point is the precise area of the chest wall. with a “hot zone” of higher density along the axillary lines (in lying patients. (Figure 6. the seashore sign (Figure 6. M-mode evaluation of the lung point: a sudden change from the seashore to the stratosphere sign is clearly visible (arrow). that is often difficult to be assessed with low-quality bedside chest X-rays. Other LUS signs may also help to differentiate the etiology of B-lines: in patients with congestive HF. Moreover. shows a clear change from one pattern to the other . For objectifying and documenting normal lung sliding. B. panel C). the pleural line. and may identify subjects at higher risk to develop acute pulmonary edema. which shows a characteristic pattern. The 2 types of B-lines .com/content/9/1/6 Page 6 of 9 patients after cardiothoracic surgery. The motionless superficial layers generate horizontal lines (the waves). It corresponds to the point where visceral and parietal pleura regain contact with each other. However. (Figure 5). hence the sandy pattern. C. especially in patients receiving mechanical ventilation . whereas LUS is much less affected from being performed at bedside. Many other situations yield abolished lung sliding. (Figure 6. Exclusively horizontal lines are displayed. absent lung sliding does not always mean PTX. pleural adherences. Within the clinical context of acute dyspnea. Bedside chest X-ray may misdiagnose up to 30% of cases . Cardiologists may be able to diagnose PTX while performing an echocardiogram. LUS evaluation should be focused not only on anterior and lateral chest. are going to decompensate and require a more aggressive treatment. 12 Chronic heart failure Assessing and grading congestion 6. Stress-echo Identification of alveolarcapillary membrane stress failure as sign of overt heart failure. LUS can further help in the diagnosis of other pulmonary conditions. B-lines assessment by LUS represents a new.Lung recruitment evaluation 8 38 42. bilateral Blines associated to left ventricular systolic and/or diastolic dysfunction or valvular heart disease is highly indicative of cardiogenic pulmonary congestion (Figure 5). interstitial pneumonia. Green star = recommendation papers. 24 Tailor therapy 13 ALI/ARDS . How to distinguish the different etiologies of B-lines has been discussed. therefore they are a very sensitive but not specific sign of cardiogenic pulmonary edema. Limitations LUS limitations are essentially patient dependent. bilateral B-lines. much easier than echocardiography. Conclusions Providing a reliable. it should pose the suspicion of pulmonary fibrosis (Figure 5). 43 HAPE Pre-clinical detection 40. The learning curve for B-lines evaluation and grading is very short . who has been the first one to introduce lung ultrasound in a Cardiology Department. Competing interests The author declares that they have no competing interests. providing a huge amount of information on both acute and chronic situations. 31 Acute coronary syndromes Prognostic stratification 34 35 34. LUS is one of the easiest application of echography. Presence of multiple. as lobar pneumonia. ARDS = acute respiratory distress syndrome. neoplasia. pulmonary infarction. 41 Dialysis Lung fluid dynamic evaluation 30. This further underlines the importance to integrate LUS findings with patients’ history. clinical presentation and other instrumental data. The presence of subcutaneous emphysema or large thoracic dressings alters or precludes the propagation of ultrasound beams to the lung periphery.Gargani Cardiovascular Ultrasound 2011. alternatively. associated to a normal heart. that may be challenging in a Cardiology or Cardiac Surgery Department. bilateral B-lines pattern from focal multiple B-lines. 9. Acknowledgements The author would like to thank dr. indicates a non-cardiac cause of pulmonary edema. 7. statements by scientific communities Yellow star = original papers on ISI journals Figure 7 Overview of the main clinical applications of lung ultrasound for the cardiologist. as acute lung injury (ALI)/ARDS. they are a sign of interstitial Page 7 of 9 Clinical applications References Acute dyspnea Differential diagnosis of cardiogenic vs non non-cardiogenic cardiogenic dyspnea 11. 22. . It is important to distinguish the multiple. whereas in pulmonary fibrosis B-lines are often associated to an evident thickening of the pleura (Figure 5). Presence of multiple. 9:6 http://www. especially in a chronic setting. Moreover. simple and repeatable estimation of EVLW.com/content/9/1/6 pleural alterations are generally detectable. Adding LUS to echocardiography may help to differentiate the main causes of acute dyspnea. that can be present in normal lungs or may be seen around many pathologic conditions. diffuse. 10. for any given level of cardiac dysfunction. Eugenio Picano. and minimal didactic and image recognition skill sessions are needed . diffuse. No single test alone allows to establish the diagnosis. to be employed at all stages of the management of HF patients. The complement of LUS to echocardiography would require only a few minutes in addition to the time needed for a resting echocardiogram. Additional file 2: Sonographic pattern of interstitial syndrome: multiple B-lines originate from the pleural line. However. Integrated cardio-pulmonary ultrasound evaluation Echocardiography is an essential tool for the cardiologist. Images patterns are readily teachable.Early diagnosis . failure 22 Level of evidence ALI = acute lung injury.cardiovascularultrasound. it must be always reminded that all instrumental data should be evaluated within the clinical context and integrated with patient’s history. HAPE = high altitude pulmonary edema. the response of the pulmonary vascular bed may be variable: LUS helps identifying those patients who. Additional material Additional file 1: Sonographic pattern of the normal lung: the horizontal hyperechoic line moving synchronously with respiration is the pleura. syndrome. pleural disease. and for the differential diagnosis of dyspnea. diffuse. pulmonary contusion. Obese patients are frequently difficult to examine because of the thickness of their ribcage and soft tissues. The main limitation of B-lines is the lack of specificity. helpful tool for the cardiologist. As already mentioned. although asymptomatic. that an integrated approach is mandatory. 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