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      Ultrasound Assessment Of Diaphragmatic Function During Acute Exacerbation Of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease: A Pilot Study

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          Impairment of diaphragmatic function is one of the main pathophysiological mechanisms of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and is known to be related to acute exacerbation. Ultrasonography (US) allows for a simple, non-invasive assessment of diaphragm kinetics. The purpose of this study was to investigate the changes in diaphragmatic function during acute exacerbation of COPD, by US.


          This single-center, prospective study included patients with acute exacerbation of COPD symptoms. US measurements were performed within 72 hrs after exacerbation and after improvement of symptoms. Diaphragmatic excursion and its thickening fraction (TF) were measured as markers of diaphragmatic function. TF was calculated as (thickness at end inspiration – thickness at end expiration)/thickness at end expiration.


          Ten patients were enrolled. All patients were male, and the mean age was 79.8 years. The TF of the right diaphragm showed a significant increase from the initial to the follow-up values (80.1 ± 104.9 mm vs. 159.5 ± 224.6 mm, p = 0.011); however, the diaphragmatic excursion did not vary significantly between the initial and follow-up values (22 ± 6 mm vs 23 ±12 mm). The change in excursion between the stable and exacerbation periods was positively correlated with time to the next exacerbation and negatively correlated with the time taken to recover from the exacerbation.


          These data support the possibility that a defect in diaphragm thickening is related to acute exacerbation of COPD.

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          Most cited references 12

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          Standards for the diagnosis and treatment of patients with COPD: a summary of the ATS/ERS position paper.

           W MacNee,  ,  B Celli (2004)
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            Diaphragmatic motion studied by m-mode ultrasonography: methods, reproducibility, and normal values.

            Although diaphragmatic motion is readily studied by ultrasonography, the procedure remains poorly codified. The aim of this prospective study was to determine the reference values for diaphragmatic motion as recorded by M-mode ultrasonography. Two hundred ten healthy adult subjects (150 men, 60 women) were investigated. Both sides of the posterior diaphragm were identified, and M-mode was used to display the movement of the anatomical structures. Examinations were performed during quiet breathing, voluntary sniffing, and deep breathing. Diaphragmatic excursions were measured from the M-mode sonographic images. In addition, the reproducibility (inter- and intra-observer) was assessed. Right and left diaphragmatic motions were successfully assessed during quiet breathing in all subjects. During voluntary sniffing, the measurement was always possible on the right side, and in 208 of 210 volunteers, on the left side. During deep breathing, an obscuration of the diaphragm by the descending lung was noted in subjects with marked diaphragmatic excursion. Consequently, right diaphragmatic excursion could be measured in 195 of 210 subjects, and left diaphragmatic excursion in only 45 subjects. Finally, normal values of both diaphragmatic excursions were determined. Since the excursions were larger in men than in women, the gender should be taken into account. The lower limit values were close to 0.9 cm for women and 1 cm for men during quiet breathing, 1.6 cm for women and 1.8 cm for men during voluntary sniffing, and 3.7 cm for women and 4.7 cm for men during deep breathing. We demonstrated that M-mode ultrasonography is a reproducible method for assessing hemidiaphragmatic movement.
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              Evolution of Diaphragm Thickness during Mechanical Ventilation. Impact of Inspiratory Effort.

              Diaphragm atrophy and dysfunction have been reported in humans during mechanical ventilation, but the prevalence, causes, and functional impact of changes in diaphragm thickness during routine mechanical ventilation for critically ill patients are unknown.

                Author and article information

                Int J Chron Obstruct Pulmon Dis
                Int J Chron Obstruct Pulmon Dis
                International Journal of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
                07 November 2019
                : 14
                : 2479-2484
                [1 ]Division of Pulmonology and Critical Care Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine, Seoul National University Bundang Hospital , Seongnam, Korea
                [2 ]Division of Pulmonology Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine, Cheongju Hana Hospital , Cheongju-si, Korea
                [3 ]Division of Pulmonology and Critical Care Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine, Seoul National University College of Medicine , Seoul, Korea
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Choon-Taek Lee Division of Pulmonology and Critical Care Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine, Seoul National University College of Medicine , 82, Gumi-ro 173beon-gil, Bundang-gu, Seongnam-si, Gyeonggi-do, Seongnam, Seoul, South KoreaTel +82 31 787 7002Fax +82 31 787 4052 Email
                © 2019 Lim et al.

                This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited. The full terms of this license are available at and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution – Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License ( By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed. For permission for commercial use of this work, please see paragraphs 4.2 and 5 of our Terms (

                Page count
                Figures: 2, Tables: 3, References: 20, Pages: 6
                Original Research


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