Portable chest radiography is an essential component of clinical patient management in the intensive-care unit. With routine use of this procedure, unexpected cardiopulmonary abnormalities are frequently detected, and malposition or complications of intravascular devices and endotracheal, thoracostomy, or nasogastric tubes are also commonly found. The pulmonary parenchyma may be assessed for changes of acute lung injury, cardiogenic edema, areas of pneumonitis, atelectasis, or other abnormal collections of fluid or air. In mechanically ventilated patients, barotrauma occurs frequently and may be manifested by subtle intrathoracic collections of air. Technical factors may limit the resolution of the anteroposterior chest radiograph obtained at the bedside, but crucial clinical information is often gained. Portable chest radiographic findings, the role of computed tomography and ultrasonography, and interventional radiologic procedures pertinent to patients in the intensive-care unit are reviewed.
ASJC Scopus subject areas