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      Lung ultrasound predicts clinical course and outcomes in COVID-19 patients

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          Information regarding the use of lung ultrasound (LUS) in patients with Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is quickly accumulating, but its use for risk stratification and outcome prediction has yet to be described. We performed the first systematic and comprehensive LUS evaluation of consecutive patients hospitalized with COVID-19 infection, in order to describe LUS findings and their association with clinical course and outcome.


          Between 21/03/2020 and 04/05/2020, 120 consecutive patients admitted to the Tel Aviv Medical Center due to COVID-19, underwent complete LUS within 24 h of admission. A second exam was performed in case of clinical deterioration. LUS score of 0 (best)—36 (worst) was assigned to each patient. LUS findings were compared with clinical data.


          The median baseline total LUS score was 15, IQR [7–20]. Baseline LUS score was 0–18 in 80 (67%) patients, and 19–36 in 40 (33%) patients. The majority had patchy pleural thickening ( n = 100; 83%), or patchy subpleural consolidations ( n = 93; 78%) in at least one zone. The prevalence of pleural thickening, subpleural consolidations and the total LUS score were all correlated with severity of illness on admission. Clinical deterioration was associated with increased follow-up LUS scores ( p = 0.0009), mostly due to loss of aeration in anterior lung segments. The optimal cutoff point for LUS score was 18 (sensitivity = 62%, specificity = 74%). Both mortality and need for invasive mechanical ventilation were increased with baseline LUS score > 18 compared to baseline LUS score 0–18. Unadjusted hazard ratio of death for LUS score was 1.08 per point [1.02–1.16], p = 0.008; Unadjusted hazard ratio of the composite endpoint (death or need for invasive mechanical ventilation) for LUS score was 1.12 per point [1.05–1.2], p = 0.0008.


          Hospitalized patients with COVID-19, at all clinical grades, present with pathological LUS findings. Baseline LUS score strongly correlates with the eventual need for invasive mechanical ventilation and is a strong predictor of mortality. Routine use of LUS may guide patients’ management strategies, as well as resource allocation in case of surge capacity.

          Electronic supplementary material

          The online version of this article (10.1007/s00134-020-06212-1) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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          Most cited references 22

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          Effect of a protective-ventilation strategy on mortality in the acute respiratory distress syndrome.

          In patients with the acute respiratory distress syndrome, massive alveolar collapse and cyclic lung reopening and overdistention during mechanical ventilation may perpetuate alveolar injury. We determined whether a ventilatory strategy designed to minimize such lung injuries could reduce not only pulmonary complications but also mortality at 28 days in patients with the acute respiratory distress syndrome. We randomly assigned 53 patients with early acute respiratory distress syndrome (including 28 described previously), all of whom were receiving identical hemodynamic and general support, to conventional or protective mechanical ventilation. Conventional ventilation was based on the strategy of maintaining the lowest positive end-expiratory pressure (PEEP) for acceptable oxygenation, with a tidal volume of 12 ml per kilogram of body weight and normal arterial carbon dioxide levels (35 to 38 mm Hg). Protective ventilation involved end-expiratory pressures above the lower inflection point on the static pressure-volume curve, a tidal volume of less than 6 ml per kilogram, driving pressures of less than 20 cm of water above the PEEP value, permissive hypercapnia, and preferential use of pressure-limited ventilatory modes. After 28 days, 11 of 29 patients (38 percent) in the protective-ventilation group had died, as compared with 17 of 24 (71 percent) in the conventional-ventilation group (P<0.001). The rates of weaning from mechanical ventilation were 66 percent in the protective-ventilation group and 29 percent in the conventional-ventilation group (P=0.005): the rates of clinical barotrauma were 7 percent and 42 percent, respectively (P=0.02), despite the use of higher PEEP and mean airway pressures in the protective-ventilation group. The difference in survival to hospital discharge was not significant; 13 of 29 patients (45 percent) in the protective-ventilation group died in the hospital, as compared with 17 of 24 in the conventional-ventilation group (71 percent, P=0.37). As compared with conventional ventilation, the protective strategy was associated with improved survival at 28 days, a higher rate of weaning from mechanical ventilation, and a lower rate of barotrauma in patients with the acute respiratory distress syndrome. Protective ventilation was not associated with a higher rate of survival to hospital discharge.
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            American College of Chest Physicians/La Société de Réanimation de Langue Française statement on competence in critical care ultrasonography.

            To define competence in critical care ultrasonography (CCUS). The statement is sponsored by the Critical Care NetWork of the American College of Chest Physicians (ACCP) in partnership with La Société de Réanimation de Langue Française (SRLF). The ACCP and the SRLF selected a panel of experts to review the field of CCUS and to develop a consensus statement on competence in CCUS. CCUS may be divided into general CCUS (thoracic, abdominal, and vascular), and echocardiography (basic and advanced). For each component part, the panel defined the specific skills that the intensivist should have to be competent in that aspect of CCUS. In defining a reasonable minimum standard for CCUS, the statement serves as a guide for the intensivist to follow in achieving proficiency in the field.
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              Lung ultrasound in critically ill patients: comparison with bedside chest radiography.

              To compare the diagnostic performance of lung ultrasound and bedside chest radiography (CXR) for the detection of various pathologic abnormalities in unselected critically ill patients, using thoracic computed tomography (CT) as a gold standard. Forty-two mechanically ventilated patients scheduled for CT were prospectively studied with a modified lung ultrasound protocol. Four pathologic entities were evaluated: consolidation, interstitial syndrome, pneumothorax, and pleural effusion. Each hemithorax was evaluated for the presence or absence of each abnormality. Eighty-four hemithoraces were evaluated by the three imaging techniques. The sensitivity, specificity, and diagnostic accuracy of CXR were 38, 89, and 49% for consolidation, 46, 80, and 58% for interstitial syndrome, 0, 99, and 89% for pneumothorax, and 65, 81, and 69% for pleural effusion, respectively. The corresponding values for lung ultrasound were 100, 78, and 95% for consolidation, 94, 93, and 94% for interstitial syndrome, 75, 93, and 92% for pneumothorax, and 100, 100, and 100% for pleural effusion, respectively. The relatively low sensitivity of lung ultrasound for pneumothorax could be due to small number of cases (n = 8) and/or suboptimal methodology. In our unselected general ICU population lung ultrasound has a considerably better diagnostic performance than CXR for the diagnosis of common pathologic conditions and may be used as an alternative to thoracic CT.

                Author and article information

                Intensive Care Med
                Intensive Care Med
                Intensive Care Medicine
                Springer Berlin Heidelberg (Berlin/Heidelberg )
                28 August 2020
                : 1-11
                [1 ]GRID grid.12136.37, ISNI 0000 0004 1937 0546, Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center and Sackler School of Medicine, , Tel Aviv University, ; Tel Aviv, Israel
                [2 ]GRID grid.413449.f, ISNI 0000 0001 0518 6922, Department of Cardiology, , Tel Aviv Medical Center, ; Weizmann 6, 6423919 Tel Aviv, Israel
                © Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2020

                This article is made available via the PMC Open Access Subset for unrestricted research re-use and secondary analysis in any form or by any means with acknowledgement of the original source. These permissions are granted for the duration of the World Health Organization (WHO) declaration of COVID-19 as a global pandemic.



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