Lung ultrasound accuracy in respiratory distress syndrome and transient tachypnea of the newborn

Neonatology. 2014;106(2):87-93. doi: 10.1159/000358227. Epub 2014 May 10.


Background: Lung ultrasound (LUS) is a promising technique for the diagnosis of neonatal respiratory diseases. Preliminary data has shown a good sensitivity and specificity of LUS in the diagnosis of respiratory distress syndrome (RDS) and transient tachypnea of the newborn (TTN).

Objective: The aim of this study was to calculate the sensitivity, specificity, and negative (NPV) and positive predictive value (PPV) of LUS for RDS and TTN, using an external reader blinded to the clinical condition.

Design and methods: Neonates with respiratory distress had a LUS within 1 h of admission. Images were uploaded and sent to the external reader, who made the ultrasound diagnosis according to the appearance of the images. The final clinical diagnosis was made according to all the available data, except LUS data. Sensitivity, specificity, PPV, and NPV were calculated considering the final clinical diagnosis as the gold standard.

Results: Fifty-nine neonates were studied (mean gestational age: 33 ± 4 weeks, mean birth weight: 2,145 ± 757 g). Twenty-three infants had a final diagnosis of RDS and 30 of TTN. LUS showed a sensitivity of 95.6% and specificity of 94.4%, with a PPV of 91.6% and a NPV of 97.1% for RDS, and a sensitivity of 93.3% and specificity of 96.5% with a PPV of 96.5% and a NPV of 93.4% for TTN.

Conclusions: LUS showed high sensitivity and specificity in diagnosing RDS and TTN.

MeSH terms

  • Birth Weight
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Female
  • Gestational Age
  • Humans
  • Infant, Low Birth Weight
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature
  • Lung / diagnostic imaging*
  • Lung / physiopathology
  • Male
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Prospective Studies
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Respiratory Distress Syndrome, Newborn / diagnostic imaging*
  • Respiratory Distress Syndrome, Newborn / physiopathology
  • Transient Tachypnea of the Newborn / diagnostic imaging*
  • Transient Tachypnea of the Newborn / physiopathology
  • Ultrasonography