Objectives: Point-of-care lung ultrasonography (US) is an alternative to chest radiography for imaging of suspected community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) in children. We compared pediatric emergency department (ED) time metrics between children who received point-of-care lung US versus chest radiography. Secondary objectives were comparisons of health system costs and other resources in these imaging groups.
Methods: This work was a retrospective matched cohort study of children aged 0 to 18 years in an academic urban pediatric ED who were imaged for suspected CAP with either point-of-care lung US or chest radiography.
Results: A total of 202 patients (101 in each group) were included in the study. The point-of-care lung US group spent a mean of 75.9 (SE, 14.3) minutes less from physician assessment to discharge (P < .0001) and 60.9 (SE, 18.1) minutes less in the overall ED length of stay (P = .0008). Physician billings and facility fees were both significantly lower (P < .0001) in the point-of-care lung US group, for a mean health systems savings of CAN$187.1 (SE, CAN$21.9).
Conclusions: In children undergoing imaging for suspected CAP in our pediatric ED, point-of-care lung US by pediatric emergency medicine physicians was associated with decreased time and cost compared with chest radiography.
Keywords: lung ultrasonography; pediatric emergency; pneumonia; point-of-care ultrasonography; resource use.
© 2018 by the American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine.