May 2020 - From Bedside to Bench: Application of Lung Ultrasound in Small Animals

Presented by Jana Grune, PhD and Niklas Hegemann, MSc from Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin.


● Lung ultrasound (US) is a long-standing non-invasive, radiation free technique that can be used as a bedside tool with high diagnostic accuracy. In comparison to CT and chest X-ray, US it is cheap and can be used even when the patient is unconscious.

● Healthy lung US presents as mostly artifacts, with the ribs (black shadows) and pleura (bright hyperechoic lines) reflecting back, in addition to “seashore signs”.

● Diseased lungs (i.e. in cases of pulmonary edema, pneumonia, pulmonary embolism, pneumothorax, COPD, asthma, left ventricle heart failure, and shock) present with B-lines (comet-like artifacts starting at the pleura), pleural defects (discontinuation or irregularity of the pleural line), pleural effusion (black swollen pouches), and pleural thickening.

● The BLUE protocol was used in assessing if US is a viable technique in preclinical animal models.The authors found that lung US has high sensitivity and specificity to various diseases compared to conventional diagnostic tools in mice and a rat heart failure model.


  • Small animal lung US is feasible and comprehensive tool for the in vivo pulmonary assessment
  • The same artifact patterns that exist in human US imaging can also be in 2 animal models (rats and mice)
  • This opens the door for diagnosing many other lung pathologies using the Vevo 3100 ultrasound system, leading to more longitudinal studies and a reduction in the number of animals used

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