Purpose: Pulmonary ultrasound (PU) examination at the point-of-care can rapidly identify the etiology of acute respiratory failure (ARF) and assess treatment response. The often-subjective classification of PU abnormalities makes it difficult to document change over time and communicate findings across providers. The study goal was to develop a simple, PU scoring system that would allow for standardized documentation, have high interprovider agreement, and correlate with clinical metrics.
Methods: In this prospective study of 250 adults intubated for ARF, a PU examination was performed at intubation, 48-hours later, and at extubation. A total lung score (TLS) was calculated. Clinical metrics and final diagnosis were extracted from the medical record.
Results: TLS correlated positively with mortality (P = .03), ventilator hours (P = .003), intensive care unit, and hospital length of stay (P = .003, P = .008), and decreasing PaO2 /FiO2 (P < .001). Agreement of PU findings was very good (kappa = 0.83). Baseline TLS and subscores differed significantly between ARF categories (nonpulmonary, obstructive, and parenchymal disease).
Conclusions: A quick, scored, PU examination was associated with clinical metrics, including mortality among a diverse population of patients intubated for ARF. In addition to diagnostic and prognostic information at the bedside, a standardized and quantifiable approach to PU provides objectivity in serial assessment and may enhance communication of findings between providers.
Keywords: intubation; point-of-care ultrasound; pulmonary ultrasonography; respiratory insufficiency.
© 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.