THURSDAY, May 26, 2022 (HealthDay News) — Point-of-care lung ultrasound in primary care is feasible and useful for investigating suspected community-acquired pneumonia (CAP), according to a study published in the May issue of Annals of Family Medicine.
Francisco Javier Rodríguez-Contreras, MD, Ph.D., of the Spanish Association of Primary Care Pediatrics Ultrasound Working Group in Spain, and colleagues investigated whether lung ultrasound performed in primary care is useful and feasible for diagnosing CAP compared to chest X-ray. The analysis included 82 patients (aged 5 years and older) treated by 21 family physicians and seven primary care pediatricians at 12 primary care centers.
Researchers found that positive lung ultrasound findings (consolidation measuring >1 cm or focal/asymmetric B-line pattern) showed a sensitivity of 87.8%, specificity of 58.5%, positive likelihood ratio of 2.12 and a negative likelihood ratio of 0.21 compared to chest X-ray. Regardless of the doctors’ training or previous experience with ultrasound, the results were similar. Lung ultrasound was generally performed in ≤ 10 minutes.
“We propose a practical algorithm whereby patients with consolidation measuring more than 1 cm or normal findings on lung ultrasound could skip the chest X-ray, while patients with B-line pattern without consolidation (given its low specificity) would require a chest X-ray to ensure appropriate management,” the authors write.