Ultrasound evaluation of diaphragmatic mobility in patients with idiopathic lung fibrosis: a pilot study
Background: Some previous works have tested LUS use in diagnosing and monitoring interstitial lung diseases. B-lines are main sonographic signs for interstitial diseases. Increasing evidences suggest that dyspnea and impaired exercise capacity in IPF patients can be related, at least in part, to respiratory muscle dysfunction, in particular to diaphragm functionality. Both B-mode and M-mode ultrasound techniques have been employed to assess diaphragm excursion (DE), which measures the distance that the diaphragm is able to move during the respiratory cycle. Methods: The main objective of this case-control study was to evaluate if differences exist between diaphragmatic excursions in IPF patients and in a control group of healthy subjects. Secondary objectives were to evaluate possible correlations among respiratory excursions, anthropometric parameters and respiratory function parameters. All patients performed spirometry and body plethysmography (PC). Diaphragm was examined by ultrasound imaging in B-MODE, and respiratory excursions were evaluated in M-MODE. Examination consisted of 3 measurements of the inspiratory phase at rest and after deep inspiration. Results: Twelve patients with IPF and 12 healthy subjects were enrolled. There were no significant differences between respiratory excursions in patients and controls during spontaneous breathing, while there was a statistically significant difference between the mean values of the deep respiratory excursion in the two groups (p value < 0.001). There was a positive correlation between respiratory excursion with normal breath and chest circumference in controls (p = 0.034; R = 0.614) and in patients (p = 0.032; R = 0.37), but this relationship was not found even in subjects in deep breathing. A positive correlation was found between FVC values and diaphragmatic motility both at rest and in deep breathing in fibrotic patients. Conclusions: Diaphragmatic mobility is lower in IPF patients than in healthy controls, especially during deep inspiration. The correlation between reduced FVC and diaphragmatic excursion values in IPF patients can be of interest, since it could represent an index of functional respiratory function performed by a non-invasive, low-cost, simple and reliable imaging technique, such as LUS.
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