The Lung Point Sign, not Pathognomonic of a Pneumothorax

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Abstract

Since the development of portable ultrasonography equipment, this technology has provided clinicians the ability to evaluate a variety of lung pathology at the bedside, but we are still learning how to accurately interpret the acquired images. Adequate interpretation and recognition of certain signs is crucial to diagnosing pathological processes. In addition, such signs must be adequately correlated with the patient's medical condition. For instance, the “lung point sign” has been traditionally considered to be pathognomonic for the presence of a pneumothorax, yet such finding may be present in patients with bullous lung disease without a pneumothorax.

We present a case of an 83-year-old man with underlying chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Bedside ultrasonography identified a “lung point sign” initially suggesting a possible pneumothorax. Further evaluation demonstrated absence of pneumothorax, with the patient having a large bulla.

To our knowledge, this is the first case reported demonstrating that the “lung point sign” is not always indicative of a pneumothorax. We discuss the importance of both clinical correlation and understanding of the underlying pathophysiology when reviewing ultrasound images to accurately interpret ultrasound findings.

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