Point-of-Care Lung Ultrasound Feasible for Pneumonia Diagnosis in Primary Care

microscopic pneumonia in lungs
microscopic pneumonia in lungs
Short training program appears sufficient and little time is needed to perform the scan in practice

HealthDay News — Point-of-care lung ultrasound in primary care is feasible and useful for investigating suspected community-acquired pneumonia (CAP), according to a study published in the May issue of Annals of Family Medicine.

Francisco Javier Rodríguez-Contreras, MD, PhD, from the Ultrasound Working Group of the Spanish Association of Primary Care Paediatrics in Spain, and colleagues investigated whether lung ultrasound performed in primary care is useful and feasible for diagnosing CAP versus chest radiography. The analysis included 82 patients (ages 5 years and older) treated by 21 family physicians and 7 primary care pediatricians at 12 primary care centers.

The researchers found that positive lung ultrasound findings (consolidation measuring >1 cm or a focal/asymmetrical B-lines pattern) showed a sensitivity of 87.8%, a specificity of 58.5%, a positive likelihood ratio of 2.12, and a negative likelihood ratio of 0.21 compared with chest radiography. Regardless of physicians’ previous ultrasound training or experience, findings were similar. Lung ultrasound was generally performed in 10 minutes or less.

“We propose a practical algorithm whereby patients having consolidation measuring greater than 1cm or normal findings on lung ultrasound could skip chest radiography, whereas patients with a B-lines pattern without consolidation (given its low specificity) would need chest radiography to ensure appropriate management,” the authors write.

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