Persistent pulmonary congestion before discharge predicts rehospitalization in heart failure: a lung ultrasound study

Cardiovasc Ultrasound. 2015 Sep 4;13:40. doi: 10.1186/s12947-015-0033-4.


Background: B-lines evaluated by lung ultrasound (LUS) are the sonographic sign of pulmonary congestion, a major predictor of morbidity and mortality in patients with heart failure (HF). Our aim was to assess the prognostic value of B-lines at discharge to predict rehospitalization at 6 months in patients with acute HF (AHF).

Methods: A prospective cohort of 100 patients admitted to a Cardiology Department for dyspnea and/or clinical suspicion of AHF were enrolled (mean age 70 ± 11 years). B-lines were evaluated at admission and before discharge. Subjects were followed-up for 6-months after discharge.

Results: Mean B-lines at admission was 48 ± 48 with a statistically significant reduction before discharge (20 ± 23, p < .0001). During follow-up, 14 patients were rehospitalized for decompensated HF. The 6-month event-free survival was highest in patients with less B-lines (≤ 15) and lowest in patients with more B-lines (> 15) (log rank χ(2) 20.5, p < .0001). On multivariable analysis, B-lines > 15 before discharge (hazard ratio [HR] 11.74; 95 % confidence interval [CI] 1.30-106.16) was an independent predictor of events at 6 months.

Conclusions: Persistent pulmonary congestion before discharge evaluated by ultrasound strongly predicts rehospitalization for HF at 6-months. Absence or a mild degree of B-lines identify a subgroup at extremely low risk to be readmitted for HF decompensation.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Chronic Disease
  • Comorbidity
  • Female
  • Heart Failure / diagnostic imaging*
  • Heart Failure / mortality*
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Italy / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Patient Discharge / statistics & numerical data*
  • Patient Readmission / statistics & numerical data*
  • Prevalence
  • Prognosis
  • Pulmonary Edema / epidemiology*
  • Pulmonary Edema / mortality*
  • Recurrence
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Risk Assessment
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Survival Rate
  • Ultrasonography / statistics & numerical data