Does the addition of M-mode to B-mode ultrasound increase the accuracy of identification of lung sliding in traumatic pneumothoraces?

Jacob Avila, Ben Smith, Therese Mead, Duane Jurma, Matthew Dawson, Michael Mallin, Adam Dugan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Objectives—It is unknown whether the addition of M-mode to B-mode ultrasound (US) has any effect on the overall accuracy of interpretation of lung sliding in the evaluation of a pneumothorax by emergency physicians. This study aimed to determine what effect, if any, this addition has on US interpretation by emergency physicians of varying training levels. Methods—One hundred forty emergency physicians were randomized via online software to receive a quiz with B-mode clips alone or B-mode with corresponding M-mode images and asked to identify the presence or absence of lung sliding. Results—The sensitivity, specificity, and accuracy of the diagnosis of lung sliding with and without M-mode US were compared. Overall, the sensitivities, specificities, and accuracies of B-mode1M-mode US versus B-mode US alone were 93.1% and 93.2% (P=.8), 96.0% and 89.8% (P<.0001), and 91.5% and 94.5% (P=.0091), respectively. A subgroup analysis showed that in those providers with fewer than 250 total US scans done previously, M-mode US increased accuracy from 88.2% (95% confidence interval, 86.2%-90.2%) to 94.4% (92.8%-96.0%; P=.001) and increased the specificity from 87.0% (84.5%-89.5%) to 97.2% (95.4%-99.0%; P<.0001) compared with B-mode US alone. There was no statistically significant difference observed in the sensitivity, specificity, and accuracy of B-mode + M-mode US compared with B-mode US alone in those with more than 250 scans. Conclusions—The addition of M-mode images to B-mode clips aids in the accurate diagnosis of lung sliding by emergency physicians. The subgroup analysis showed that the benefit of M-mode US disappears after emergency physicians have performed more than 250 US examinations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2681-2687
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Ultrasound in Medicine
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 by the American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine.


  • Chest/lung
  • Emergency medicine
  • Pneumothorax
  • Trauma
  • Ultrasound

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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