Aim: Pneumothorax is a common emergency affecting extremely preterm. In adult studies, lung ultrasound has performed better than chest x-ray in the diagnosis of pneumothorax. The purpose of this study was to determine the efficacy of lung ultrasound (LUS) examination to detect pneumothorax using a preterm animal model. Methods: This was a prospective, observational study using newborn Border–Leicester lambs at gestational age = 126 days (equivalent to gestational age = 26 weeks in humans) receiving mechanical ventilation from birth to 2 h of life. At the conclusion of the experiment, LUS was performed, the lambs were then euthanised and a post-mortem exam was immediately performed. We used previously published ultrasound techniques to identify pneumothorax. Test characteristics of LUS to detect pneumothorax were calculated, using the post-mortem exam as the ‘gold standard’ test. Results: Nine lambs (18 lungs) were examined. Four lambs had a unilateral pneumothorax, all of which were identified by LUS with no false positives. Conclusions: This was the first study to use post-mortem findings to test the efficacy of LUS to detect pneumothorax in a newborn animal model. Lung ultrasound accurately detected pneumothorax, verified by post-mortem exam, in premature, newborn lambs.
- bubble test
- lung aeration
- lung injury
- post-mortem exam
- respiratory distress syndrome