ERJ Open Res. 2023 Aug 14;9(4):00017-2023. doi: 10.1183/23120541.00017-2023. eCollection 2023 Jul.
BACKGROUND: Lung ultrasound (LUS) has proven to be useful in the evaluation of lung involvement in COVID-19. However, its effectiveness for predicting the risk of severe disease is still up for debate. The aim of the study was to establish the prognostic accuracy of serial LUS examinations in the prediction of clinical deterioration in hospitalised patients with COVID-19.
METHODS: Prospective single-centre cohort study of patients hospitalised for COVID-19. The study protocol consisted of a LUS examination within 24 h from admission and a follow-up examination on day 3 of hospitalisation. Lung involvement was evaluated by a 14-area LUS score. The primary end-point was the ability of LUS to predict clinical deterioration defined as need for intensive respiratory support with high-flow oxygen or invasive mechanical ventilation.
RESULTS: 200 patients were included and 35 (17.5%) of them reached the primary end-point and were transferred to the intensive care unit (ICU). The LUS score at admission had been significantly higher in the ICU group than in the non-ICU group (22 (interquartile range (IQR) 20-26) versus 12 (IQR 8-15)). A LUS score at admission ≥17 was shown to be the best cut-off point to discriminate patients at risk of deterioration (area under the curve (AUC) 0.95). The absence of progression in LUS score on day 3 significantly increased the prediction accuracy by ruling out deterioration with a negative predictive value of 99.29%.
CONCLUSION: Serial LUS is a reliable tool in predicting the risk of respiratory deterioration in patients hospitalised due to COVID-19 pneumonia. LUS could be further implemented in the future for risk stratification of viral pneumonia.