Transthoracic lung ultrasound in normal dogs and dogs with cardiogenic pulmonary edema: a pilot study

Nathalie Rademacher, Romain Pariaut, Julie Pate, Carley Saelinger, Michael T Kearney, Lorrie Gaschen
Veterinary Radiology & Ultrasound 2014, 55 (4): 447-52
Pulmonary edema is the most common complication of left-sided heart failure in dogs and early detection is important for effective clinical management. In people, pulmonary edema is commonly diagnosed based on transthoracic ultrasonography and detection of B line artifacts (vertical, narrow-based, well-defined hyperechoic rays arising from the pleural surface). The purpose of this study was to determine whether B line artifacts could also be useful diagnostic predictors for cardiogenic pulmonary edema in dogs. Thirty-one normal dogs and nine dogs with cardiogenic pulmonary edema were prospectively recruited. For each dog, presence or absence of cardiogenic pulmonary edema was based on physical examination, heartworm testing, thoracic radiographs, and echocardiography. A single observer performed transthoracic ultrasonography in all dogs and recorded video clips and still images for each of four quadrants in each hemithorax. Distribution, sonographic characteristics, and number of B lines per thoracic quadrant were determined and compared between groups. B lines were detected in 31% of normal dogs (mean 0.9 ± 0.3 SD per dog) and 100% of dogs with cardiogenic pulmonary edema (mean 6.2 ± 3.8 SD per dog). Artifacts were more numerous and widely distributed in dogs with congestive heart failure (P < 0.0001). In severe cases, B lines increased in number and became confluent. The locations of B line artifacts appeared consistent with locations of edema on radiographs. Findings from the current study supported the use of thoracic ultrasonography and detection of B lines as techniques for diagnosing cardiogenic pulmonary edema in dogs.

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