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Chest radiography in intensive care: an irreplaceable survey?

Il radiogramma del torace in terapia intensiva: indagine insostituibile?

  • Chest Radiology / Radiologia Toracica
  • Published:
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This study evaluated the impact and value of bedside chest X-ray in intensive care units.

Materials and methods

This observational study considered the bedside chest X-rays performed on 258 consecutive patients (160 men, 98 women; mean age, 58 years) admitted to intensive care units. Stratification of patients according to the reason for hospitalisation and analysis of the reasons for chest X-ray examinations were performed to assess the diagnostic efficacy (DE).


DE for chest X-rays was 84.5%, with 15.5% of tests remaining unchanged over time. Patient stratification by disease indicated that the DE was 85.27% in transplant, 90.79% in postoperative care after general surgery, 83.89% in respiratory failure, 82.42% in polytrauma, 90.54% in postoperative care after neurosurgery, 86.6% in postoperative care after vascular surgery, 83.3% in neurological conditions and 93.4% in other diseases.


Chest X-rays performed at the bedside are the most widely used imaging method in the follow-up of critically ill patients. DE is approximately 84.5%. Radiologists should maintain familiarity with the interpretation of this examination.



Il presente lavoro si propone la valutazione dell’incidenza e della validità dell’utilizzo dell’Rx torace a letto nei reparti di terapia intensiva.

Materiali e metodi

Si tratta di uno studio osservazionale sugli Rx torace a letto effettuati su 258 pazienti consecutivi (160 maschi/98 femmine; età media 58 anni) ricoverati presso i reparti di terapia intensiva. è stata effettuata una stratificazione dei pazienti in base al motivo del ricovero ed analisi sui motivi che hanno portato agli esami Rx torace al fine di valutarne l’efficacia diagnostica (ED).


L’ED è risultata dell’84,5%. Il 15,5% degli esami eseguiti è risultato invariato; stratificando i pazienti per patologia si è visto che l’ED per i pazienti sottoposti a trapianto è stata dell’85,27%, nei post-operatori (PO) di chirurgia generale 90,79%, negli affetti da insufficienza respiratoria (IR) 83,89%, nei politrauma (PT) 82,42%, nei PO di neurochirurgia 90,54 %, nei PO di chirurgia vascolare 86,6%, negli affetti da patologie neurologiche 83,3% ed in quelli ricoverati per altre patologie 93,4%.


Il radiogramma del torace eseguito a letto è la metodica di imaging maggiormente utilizzata nel follow-up dei pazienti critici con una ED dell’84,5% circa. Il radiologo deve mantenere una grande dimestichezza nell’interpretazione di questo esame.

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Correspondence to V. Palazzetti.

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Palazzetti, V., Gasparri, E., Gambini, C. et al. Chest radiography in intensive care: an irreplaceable survey?. Radiol med 118, 744–751 (2013).

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