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Thoracic Ultrasound - What You Can Expect After Undergoing It?

Written and reviewed by
Dr. Mool Chand Gupta 96% (36667 ratings)
MD - Pulmonary, DTCD
Pulmonologist, Faridabad  •  43 years experience
Thoracic Ultrasound - What You Can Expect After Undergoing It?

When your doctor suspects of the presence of extra fluid in your lungs, you might be advised for a thoracic ultrasound. What is a thoracic ultrasound and why do you need it? With a thoracic ultrasound, your doctor will be able to look at everything in the thoracic cavity and can know if your lungs, heart, and other structures in the chest are working fine. The pulmonologists can efficiently determine the lung condition even in critically ill patients using a non-invasive ultrasound technique.

And, since the method is based on sound, there is no risk of exposure to potentially harmful ionizing radiation or nephron-toxic contrast dye in this case. Hence, a thoracic ultrasound has become the most preferred technique for conducting a preliminary examination or to further check and confirm a finding noted using other imaging techniques for thoracic diseases.

Reasons to have a chest ultrasound

  • The doctor usually refer an ultrasound when he or she can feel that there is some extra amount of fluid in your chest. The ultrasound can tell the physician the reason behind the deposition of excess liquid.
  • The ultrasound would help detect the type of fluid that is present in the chest, whether it is exudate that is caused due to inflammation, an infection, or lung cancer, or whether it is transudate that is a leakage from the lymph nodes or the blood vessel. It determines the movement of the diaphragm.
  • Chest ultrasound can be done in conjunction with other examinations like CT scan, MRI to evaluate the condition of the chest.
  • It has to be noted that, in certain circumstances such as severe obesity and barium in your esophagus, the procedure can give an inaccurate result. Hence, it is always advisable to talk with the health care provider and share your complete medical history before undergoing this procedure to prevent such occurrences.

After a Thoracic Ultrasound

  • After the results of the ultrasound are received, the doctor can detect what the condition of your chest is at the moment. Your doctor will also confirm if the lungs have collapsed or if there is water in the lungs, or excess fluid has deposited into the lungs.
  • Ultrasound can also reveal if you have pneumonia. A diagnosis like this does not take a long duration, and thus the ultrasound plays a significant role in expediting the treatment process.
  • There are no hard and fast regulations to follow after the ultrasound. The physician may recommend few instructions depending on your situation. In typical cases, there is no special preparation like fasting is required and you need not be sedated during the ultrasound as well.
  • A safe and painless method to detect the condition of the chest and the respiratory organs and the blood flow through the organs in your chest, a thoracic ultrasound is a preferred procedure that can help your doctor to diagnose your condition and decide upon the treatment method.

In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!

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