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Lung Ultrasound

Lung ultrasound at the bedside is an increasingly popular technique in the ICU: it is an easy, cheap, repeatable, real-time, and noninvasive method to assess several lung conditions [50]. It has been also proposed as a tool to assess the efficacy of lung recruitment [19, 51]. The exam is performed scoring visually different pulmonary regions, in order to obtain a global score that correlates with the degree of lung aeration [51]. This application of lung ultrasound has not yet been completely standardized: its operator dependence raises concerns among some authors, and for this reason automated computer-based image analysis is under investigation [52, 53]. Moreover, lung ultrasound is not able so far to discriminate normal aeration from hyperaeration.

Electrical Impedance Tomography

Electrical impedance tomography (EIT) is a real-time imaging technique, which shows dynamically the lung aeration changes. It is based on the principle that changes in lung aeration modify the chest conductivity, and electrical signals recorded with electrodes placed on the skin are analyzed to produce a real-time lung aeration map. EIT is an emerging technique, but needs technical improvements to enhance resolution and clinical trials to clarify its role in decision making [54, 55].

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