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Ultrasound in the diagnosis and management of pneumonia

Schenck, Edward J.; Rajwani, Kapil

Current Opinion in Infectious Diseases: April 2016 - Volume 29 - Issue 2 - p 223–228
doi: 10.1097/QCO.0000000000000247
RESPIRATORY INFECTIONS: Edited by Michael S. Niederman
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Purpose of review: Point of care ultrasound continues to become more prevalent in the diagnosis and management of many disease states. In this review, we focus on the use of bedside lung ultrasound (LUS) in the diagnosis of pneumonia. We describe the sonographic findings associated with pneumonia and the recent literature exploring its use in different settings and patient populations.

Recent findings: The limited sensitivity of chest radiography in the diagnosis of pneumonia has been well described. Ultrasound is an attractive option because of its low cost, lack of ionizing radiation, portability, and repeatability. An alveolar or focal interstitial pattern has been described as the usual sonographic findings in pneumonia. Multiple studies have compared LUS with chest radiography in pneumonia, and have shown that LUS is at least equivalent, and in many instances superior, to chest radiography.

Summary: Point of care LUS is an invaluable tool in the diagnosis of multiple pulmonary conditions, including pneumonia. Its use in real time with clinical correlation makes it an ideal tool for rapid diagnosis, especially in situations with unstable patients or in low-resource settings.

Department of Medicine, Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Weill Cornell Medical College, New York City, New York, USA

Correspondence to Kapil Rajwani, MD, Department of Medicine, Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Weill Cornell Medical College, New York City, NY, USA. Tel: +1 212 746 6878; e-mail: kar9043@med.cornell.edu

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