Assessment of Interstitial Lung Disease Using Lung Ultrasound Surface Wave Elastography: A Novel Technique with Clinicoradiologic Correlates

Ryan Clay, Brian J. Bartholmai, Boran Zhou, Ronald Karwoski, Tobias Peikert, Thomas Osborn, Srinivasan Rajagopalan, Sanjay Kalra, Xiaoming Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Purpose:Optimal strategies to detect early interstitial lung disease (ILD) are unknown. ILD is frequently subpleural in distribution and affects lung elasticity. Lung ultrasound surface wave elastography (LUSWE) is a noninvasive method of quantifying superficial lung tissue elastic properties. In LUWSE a handheld device applied at the intercostal space vibrates the chest at a set frequency, and the lung surface wave velocity is measured by an ultrasound probe 5 mm away in the same intercostal space. We explored LUWSE's ability to detect ILD and correlated LUSWE velocity with physiological, quantitative, and visual radiologic features of subjects with known ILD and of healthy controls.Materials and Methods:Seventy-seven subjects with ILD, mostly caused by connective tissue disease, and 19 healthy controls were recruited. LUSWE was performed on all subjects in 3 intercostal lung regions bilaterally. Comparison of LUSWE velocities pulmonary function testing, visual assessment, and quantitative analysis of recent computed tomographic imaging with Computer-Aided Lung Informatics for Pathology Evaluation and Rating (CALIPER) software.Results:Sonographic velocities were higher in all lung regions for cases, with the greatest difference in the lateral lower lung. Median velocity in m/s was 5.84 versus 4.11 and 5.96 versus 4.27 (P<0.00001) for cases versus controls, left and right lateral lower lung zones, respectively. LUSWE velocity correlated negatively with vital capacity and positively with radiologist and CALIPER-detected interstitial abnormalities.Conclusions:LUSWE is a safe and noninvasive technique that shows high sensitivity to detect ILD and correlated with clinical, physiological, radiologic, and quantitative assessments of ILD. Prospective study in detecting ILD is indicated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)313-319
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of thoracic imaging
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1 2019


  • connective tissue disease-related interstitial lung disease (CTD-ILD)
  • interstitial lung disease screening
  • lung ultrasound
  • lung ultrasound surface wave elastography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


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