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Pleural disease encompasses a large range of conditions, is a common presentation to the acute medical take and often requires comprehensive investigation and treatment. Ultrasound is well recognised as a useful investigative tool in pleural disease especially in the field of pleural effusion, pleural thickening and interventional procedures. Thoracic ultrasound (TUS) has gained widespread use by physicians as evidence has shown a reduced rate of complications when performing pleural procedures with ultrasound guidance. Areas covered: This article will review studies assessing the role of TUS in the management of pleural disease and examine ongoing research into how TUS could advance our knowledge and understanding over the next decade. Expert commentary: Physician lead thoracic ultrasound has become commonplace over the last decade, and now represents a minimum standard of safety in conducting the majority of 'bedside' pleural procedures. The current evidence points to important diagnostic and procedural roles of the use of bedside thoracic ultrasound. In the future, research developments are likely to lead to the use of thoracic ultrasound in prognostication, targeted treatment and understanding pathogenesis in pleural disease.

Original publication




Journal article


Expert review of respiratory medicine

Publication Date





323 - 331


a University of Oxford Respiratory Trials Unit , Churchill Hospital , Oxford , UK.


Humans, Pleural Diseases, Ultrasonography