Thoracic ultrasonography is a non-invasive, pain free form of medical ultrasonography used to visualize organs of the thoracic cavity such as the lungs and heart. Lung masses, such as neoplasia, abscesses, and granulomas, as well as bullas and lung lobe torsion can be identified.
Ultrasound of the heart (echocardiogram) can help to diagnose pericardial effusion (fluid around the heart), valvular disease (including dysplasia, degeneration, and endocarditis), hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, heartworm disease, pulmonic and aortic stenosis, ventricular septal defects and other congenital and acquired heart conditions. Doppler imaging reveals the blood flow of the blood vessels of the heart and can help illuminate the cause of murmurs or clot formation.
Ultrasound-guided needle aspiration can be performed on tumors of the heart and lung, as well as on fluid around the heart (pericardial effusion) or lungs (pleural effusion) for cytologic analysis. Early diagnosis of certain conditions following thoracic ultrasound allows for proper treatment and longer survival times.