The standard views for image acquisition of solid organs are typically dictated by what windows are possible based on external anatomy and surrounding structures. The lungs, however, can be imaged from anywhere on the thorax. This boundless opportunity can create confusion and, possibly, crippling anxiety as to which portions of the lungs deserve to be imaged. The idea is, much like the way we auscultate, to take a representative sample from major lung zones and then synthesize a conclusion – clear lungs, unilateral lung disease, bilateral lung disease, etc that permits a rapid differential diagnosis for the respiratory failure that confronts you. Efficiency and accuracy are essential.
To learn more about the approach that is commonly recommended in the ICU for lung and pleural sonography, please see below for a 10 minute tutorial on the topic.