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Open Badges Commentary

Using lung ultrasound to differentiate patients in acute dyspnea in the prehospital emergency setting

Joshua S Rempell* and Vicki E Noble

Author Affiliations

Department of Emergency Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA 02114, USA

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Critical Care 2011, 15:161  doi:10.1186/cc10226

See related research by Prosen et al.,

Published: 26 May 2011


The diagnosis and treatment of dyspnea in the emergency department and in the prehospital setting is a challenge faced by the emergency physician and other prehospital care providers. While the use of lung ultrasound as a diagnostic tool in dyspneic patients has been well researched, there has been limited evaluation of its use in the prehospital setting. In the previous issue of Critical Care, Prosen and colleagues study the accuracy of lung ultrasound compared with both N-terminal pro-brain natriuretic peptide and the clinical examination for differentiating between acute decompensated congestive heart failure and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease exacerbations for patients in the prehospital setting. Their article adds to the growing body of evidence demonstrating the diagnostic efficacy of lung ultrasound in differentiating between these two disease processes in the acutely dyspneic patient.