State-of-the-art: Radiological investigation of pleural disease

R J Hallifax, A Talwar, J M Wrightson, A Edey, F V Gleeson
Respiratory Medicine 2017, 124: 88-99
Pleural disease is common. Radiological investigation of pleural effusion, thickening, masses, and pneumothorax is key in diagnosing and determining management. Conventional chest radiograph (CXR) remains as the initial investigation of choice for patients with suspected pleural disease. When abnormalities are detected, thoracic ultrasound (US), computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and positron emission tomography (PET) can each play important roles in further investigation, but appropriate modality selection is critical. US adds significant value in the identification of pleural fluid and pleural nodularity, guiding pleural procedures and, increasingly, as "point of care" assessment for pneumothorax, but is highly operator dependent. CT scan is the modality of choice for further assessment of pleural disease: Characterising pleural thickening, some pleural effusions and demonstration of homogeneity of pleural masses and areas of fatty attenuation or calcification. MRI has specific utility for soft tissue abnormalities and may have a role for younger patients requiring follow-up serial imaging. MRI and PET/CT may provide additional information in malignant pleural disease regarding prognosis and response to therapy. This article summarises existing techniques, highlighting the benefits and applications of these different imaging modalities and provides an up to date review of the evidence.

Full Text Links

Find Full Text Links for this Article


You are not logged in. Sign Up or Log In to join the discussion.

Related Papers

Remove bar
Read by QxMD icon Read

Save your favorite articles in one place with a free QxMD account.


Search Tips

Use Boolean operators: AND/OR

diabetic AND foot
diabetes OR diabetic

Exclude a word using the 'minus' sign

Virchow -triad

Use Parentheses

water AND (cup OR glass)

Add an asterisk (*) at end of a word to include word stems

Neuro* will search for Neurology, Neuroscientist, Neurological, and so on

Use quotes to search for an exact phrase

"primary prevention of cancer"
(heart or cardiac or cardio*) AND arrest -"American Heart Association"

We want to hear from doctors like you!

Take a second to answer a survey question.