Background: Lung ultrasound (LUS) is a useful tool for diagnosis and monitoring in patients with active COVID-19-infection. However, less is known about the changes in LUS findings after a hospitalization for COVID-19.
Methods: In a prospective, longitudinal study in patients with COVID-19 enrolled from non-ICU hospital units, adult patients underwent 8-zone LUS and blood sampling both during the hospitalization and 2-3 months after discharge. LUS images were analyzed blinded to clinical variables and outcomes.
Results: A total of 71 patients with interpretable LUS at baseline and follow up (mean age 64 years, 61% male, 24% with acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS)) were included. The follow-up LUS was performed a median of 72 days after the initial LUS performed during hospitalization. At baseline, 87% had pathologic LUS findings in ≥1 zone (e.g. ≥3 B-lines, confluent B-lines or subpleural or lobar consolidation), whereas 30% had pathologic findings at follow-up (p < 0.001). The total number of B-lines and LUS score decreased significantly from hospitalization to follow-up (median 17 vs. 4, p < 0.001 and 4 vs. 0, p < 0.001, respectively). On the follow-up LUS, 28% of all patients had ≥3 B-lines in ≥1 zone, whereas in those with ARDS during the baseline hospitalization (n = 17), 47% had ≥3 B-lines in ≥1 zone.
Conclusion: LUS findings improved significantly from hospitalization to follow-up 2-3 months after discharge in COVID-19 survivors. However, persistent B-lines were frequent at follow-up, especially among those who initially had ARDS. LUS seems to be a promising method to monitor COVID-19 lung changes over time.
Gov id: NCT04377035.
Keywords: COVID-19; Longitudinal follow-up; Lung ultrasound.
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