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Use of chest sonography to estimate alveolar recruitment in general anesthesia


Chest sonography evaluates extravascular lung water as the number of ultrasound lung comets (ULC). The goal of this study was to assess the potential role of chest sonography to detect lung reaeration after alveolar recruitment maneuvers (RM) using the PaO2/FiO2 ratio as reference parameter.


Chest sonography and arterial blood gas (ABG) analysis were independently performed in eight anesthetized and mechanically ventilated patients after abdominal surgery, before RM (achieved with positive end-expiratory pressure at 35 cmH2O for 30 s) and 5 and 60 minutes later. A total of 11 anterior and lateral chest regions were studied. For each chest region, lung patterns were scored as: 0 = normal, 1 = B lines ≥ 7 mm, 2 = B lines <7 mm, 3 = white lung, 4 = alveolar consolidation. A global ULC score for each patient was calculated adding the score of the 11 chest regions. Using the PaO2/FiO2 ratio as reference parameter, we calculated the sensitivity, specificity and positive predictive value of the lung ultrasound. The baseline ULC score was compared with the basal PaO2/FiO2 ratio, and furthermore the variation of eco score was compared with the variation of the PaO2/FiO2 ratio.


Chest sonography shows a sensitivity of 50–100%, a specificity of 75% and a positive predictive value of 67–88%. A linear correlation between the PaO2/FiO2 ratio and eco score was found (Figures 1 and 2).

figure 1

Figure 1

figure 2

Figure 2


Chest sonography is a promising, simple and bedside tool to estimate the efficacy of alveolar recruitment maneuvers.

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Serretti, B., Ferro, B., Gargani, L. et al. Use of chest sonography to estimate alveolar recruitment in general anesthesia. Crit Care 12 (Suppl 2), P307 (2008).

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