Purpose of review
This review aims to summarize the impact of lung ultrasonography (LUS) on economics and possible impact on patients’ outcomes, proven its diagnostic accuracy in patients with acute respiratory failure.
Despite some previous ethical concerns on LUS examination, today this technique has showed several advantages. First, it is now clear that the daily use of LUS can provide a relevant cost reduction in healthcare of patients with acute respiratory failure, while reducing the risk of transport of patients to radiological departments for chest CT scan. In addition, LUS reduces the exposition to x-rays since can replace the bedside chest X-ray examination in many cases. Indeed, LUS is characterized by a diagnostic accuracy that is even superior to portable chest X-ray when performed by well trained personnel. Finally, LUS examination is a useful tool to predict the course of patients with pneumonia, including the need for hospitalization and ICU admission, noninvasive ventilation failure and orotracheal intubation, weaning success, and mortality.
LUS should be implemented not only in Intensive Care Units, but also in other setting like emergency departments. Since most data comes from the recent coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic, further investigations are required in Acute Respiratory Failure of different etiologies.