Performance comparison of lung ultrasound and chest x-ray for the diagnosis of pneumonia in the ED

Am J Emerg Med. 2014 Feb;32(2):115-8. doi: 10.1016/j.ajem.2013.10.003. Epub 2013 Oct 9.


Objective: The aim of our study was to assess the potential of bedside lung ultrasound examination by the attending emergency physician in the diagnosis of acute pneumonia.

Material and methods: This observational single-center study was conducted between January 2010 and June 2012 in the emergency unit of a general hospital, and analyzed 144 adult patients. The ultrasound examination was performed by one of five trained emergency physicians, and a chest radiograph interpreted by a radiologist. The primary end point was the diagnosis of hospital discharge.

Results: We found a sensitivity of 0.95 for the ultrasound examination against 0.6 for radiography (P < .05). The negative predictive value was 0.67 against 0.25 for radiography (P < .05).

Conclusion: These results exhort to promote the use of thoracic ultrasound in the first-line diagnosis of pneumonia.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Emergency Service, Hospital*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lung / diagnostic imaging*
  • Male
  • Pneumonia / diagnosis*
  • Pneumonia / diagnostic imaging
  • Point-of-Care Systems
  • Radiography, Thoracic
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed
  • Ultrasonography