Objectives: To present lung ultrasound findings in children assessed with suspected pneumonia in the emergency department and to show the benefit of lung ultrasound in diagnosing pneumonia in comparison with chest X-rays.
Methods: This observational prospective study was performed in the pediatric emergency department of a single center. Point of care lung ultrasound was performed on each child by an independent sonographer blinded to the patient's clinical and chest X-ray findings. Community acquired pneumonia was established as a final diagnosis by two clinicians based on the recommendations in the British Thoracic Society guideline.
Results: One hundred sixty children with a mean age of 3.3±4years and a median age of 1.4years (min-max 0.08-17.5years) were investigated. Final diagnosis in 149 children was community-acquired pneumonia. Lung ultrasound findings were compatible with pneumonia in 142 (95.3%) of these 149 children, while chest X-ray findings were compatible with pneumonia in 132 (88.5%). Pneumonia was confirmed with lung ultrasound in 15 of the 17 patients (11.4%) not evaluated as compatible with pneumonia at chest X-ray. While pneumonia could not be confirmed with lung ultrasound in seven (4.6%) patients, findings compatible with pneumonia were not determined at chest X-ray in two of these patients. When lung ultrasound and chest X-ray were compared as diagnostic tools, a significant difference was observed between them (p=0.041).
Conclusions: This study shows that lung ultrasound is at least as useful as chest X-ray in diagnosing children with community-acquired pneumonia.
Keywords: Children; Community-acquired pneumonia; Point of care lung ultrasound.
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