Lung ultrasound findings following COVID-19 hospitalization: A prospective longitudinal cohort study

Respir Med. 2022 Jun;197:106826. doi: 10.1016/j.rmed.2022.106826. Epub 2022 Apr 2.


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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • COVID-19* / diagnostic imaging
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Hospitalization
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Lung / diagnostic imaging
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Respiratory Distress Syndrome* / diagnostic imaging
  • Ultrasonography / methods

Associated data