Emergency Radiology

, Volume 26, Issue 1, pp 15–19 | Cite as

Use of ultrasonography for differentiation between bullae and pneumothorax

  • Sinan KaracabeyEmail author
  • Erkman Sanri
  • Bayram Metin
  • Fatih Erkoc
  • Sener Yildirim
  • Yavuz Selim Intepe
  • Sercan Yalcinli
Original Article



Modern lung ultrasound (US) is mainly applied not only in critical care, emergency medicine, and trauma surgery, but also in pulmonary and internal medicine. In some cases, pneumothorax (PTX) distinguishes with bullous diseases. In this study, we aimed to discuss the success of US on detecting PTX versus bullae.


We performed a prospective blinded study. Patients underwent thorax computed tomography (CT) if bullae or pneumothorax could not be differentiated from the chest radiography. An emergency medicine specialist trained in lung US and unaware of x-ray and CT findings performed US. All patients US performed from anterior and lateral wall.


Final study population included 81 patients. The sensitivity of the presence of pleural sliding in the diagnosis of bullae was 97.50% (86.84–99.94%), and specificity was 100.0% (91.4–100.0%).


In conclusion, direct visualisation of ultrasonographic pleural sliding can be a good tool for differentiating bullae and pneumothorax.


Bullae Pneumothorax Ultrasonography Emergency 


Author’s contribution

Design of the work Sinan Karacabey, Sercan Yalcinli

Data collection Bayram Metin, Yavuz Selim Intepe, Fatih Erkoc, Sener Yildirim

Data Analysis Erkman Sanrı, Sener Yildirim

Drafting Article Sinan Karacabey, Erkman Sanrı

Revised and approved the version to be published Bayram Metin, Yavuz Selim Intepe, Fatih Erkoc


This research received no specific grant from any funding agency in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors. All data and materials used in this study are available.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Informed consent

Written informed consent was obtained from patients for this study.

Ethical approval

Ethical approval was obtained from the institutional review boards (604-02). The study protocol conforms to the ethical guidelines of the 1975 Declaration of Helsinki as reflected in a priori approval by the institution’s human research committee.


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Copyright information

© American Society of Emergency Radiology 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Emergency Medicine DepartmentMarmara University School of MedicineIstanbulTurkey
  2. 2.Faculty of Medicine Thoracic Surgery DepartmentBozok UniversityYozgatTurkey
  3. 3.Faculty of Medicine Radiology DepartmentBozok UniversityYozgatTurkey
  4. 4.Faculty of Medicine Pulmonology DepartmentBozok UniversityYozgatTurkey
  5. 5.School of Medicine Emergency Medicine DepartmentEge UniversityIzmirTurkey

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