J Ultrasound Med. 2020 Sep 16. doi: 10.1002/jum.15508. Online ahead of print.
OBJECTIVES: The aim of this study was to systematically describe the findings of lung ultrasound (US) in patients with coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) pneumonia and to analyze its prognostic value.
METHODS: Lung US examinations were performed in 63 patients with COVID-19 pneumonia admitted to a university hospital. Lung involvement was evaluated on a 4-point scale with a 12-area pulmonary division, obtaining a lung score (LS). Ultrasound findings and clinical characteristics were recorded.
RESULTS: All patients showed US involvement in at least 1 area (mean ± SD, 8 ± 3.5). The total LS was 15.3 ± 8.1, without differences between left and right lungs. Most affected regions were the lower region (95.2%) and the posterior region (73.8%). The total LS showed a strong correlation (r = -0.765) with the oxygen pressure-to-fraction of inspired oxygen ratio; by lung region, those with a higher correlation were the LS of the anterior region (r = -0.823) and the LS of the upper region (r = -0.731). In total, 22.2% of patients required noninvasive respiratory support (NIRS). A multivariate analysis showed that the anterior region LS, adjusted for age and sex, was significant (odds ratio, 2.159; 95% confidence interval, 1.309-3.561) for the risk of requiring NIRS. An anterior region LS of 4 or higher and a total LS of 19 or higher had similar characteristics to predict the need for NIRS.
CONCLUSIONS: Ultrasound involvement in COVID-19 pneumonia is bilateral and heterogeneous. Most affected regions are the posterior and the lower regions. The anterior region has prognostic value because its involvement strongly correlates with the risk of requiring NIRS, and an anterior region LS of 4 or higher has high sensitivity and specificity for predicting the need for NIRS.