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Oleothorax, an ultrasound sign of an old practice.

INTRODUCTION: The high morbidity and mortality of tuberculosis has led to the development of numerous therapeutic interventions during the pre-antibiotic era. In 1894, Forlanini proposed the technique of collapse therapy, using spontaneous pneumothorax. In 1926, Bernou developed the Oleothorax technique to induce an iatrogenic collapse of the lung through the instillation of oil into the pleural cavity, which was subsequently removed. Nowadays, there are few patients that still represent a living testimony of this historic technique and have been described through traditional radiology.

CASE PRESENTATION: We report the case of a patient with evidence of a right Oleothorax, that was investigated not only with traditional radiology but also with the use of chest ultrasonography. Ultrasounds was able to show peculiar characteristics of the Oleothorax, including its particular echogenicity, the rigidity and static nature of the collection, the presence of peripheral calcifications and the negative impact of the collection on diaphragmatic mobility and excursion.

CONCLUSION: To our knowledge, this is the first report of an ultrasound description of Oleothorax. We have observed that ultrasound examination, in cases of basal Oleothorax, is able to add information regarding its radiological appearance and physiopathological implications on ventilatory mechanics and diaphragmatic distress.

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