Aims: The objective of the study was to assess the performance of lung ultrasonography (LUS) as compared to chest radiography and the clinical criteria for the diagnosis of pneumonia in children.
Materials and methods: This was a retrospective study in which data were collected from medical files of 81 children admitted with a clinical suspicion of pneumonia in which both an LUS and a chest radiograph during the hospitalization were performed. Reference standard used for the diagnosis of pneumonia were chest radiographs (consolidation, parenchymal infiltrates, and interstitial infiltrate) and clinical criteria. LUSfindings were reported as normal, parenchymal consolidations and pleural effusions.
Results: Radiological pneumonia was reported in 72 of the 81 patients (88.9%). LUS identified parenchymal consolidations in 62 cases. LUS correctly identified radiological pneumonia with a sensitivity of 79.2% and a specificity of 44.4%. The positive predictive value (PPV) was 91.9% and the negative predictive value (NPV) was 21.0%. When clinical criteria were used as reference standard, the sensitivity, specificity, PPV and NPV of correctly identifying clinical pneumonia cases by LUS (only consolidations) were 80.0%, 66.7%, 96.8% and 21.0%. When indicative for the presence of pneumonia either the ultrasound consolidation or the ultrasound detected pleural effusion were considered when the sensitivity, PPV and NPV increased to 96.0% (95%CI: 88.8-99.2), 97.3% (95%CI: 92.0-99.1), and 57.1% (95%CI: 27.7-82.2), respectively.
Conclusions: In our opinion, our findings together withprevious ones available in the literature recommend LUS as a valuable investigation for the diagnosis of community-acquiredpneumonia in children.