Performance of chest ultrasound in pediatric pneumonia

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Objective The objective of this study was to evaluate the performance of ultrasound in detecting lung consolidation in children suspected of pneumonia, in comparison to the current gold standard, chest X-rays. Materials and methods From September 2013 to June 2014, a monocentric prospective study was performed on all children between 0 and 16 years-old, referred for chest X-ray for suspected pneumonia. Each child was examined by chest ultrasound by an examiner blinded to the chest X-ray. The presence or absence of areas of consolidation, their number and location were noted for each technique. The size of the consolidations identified only on ultrasound was compared with that of consolidations visible on both techniques. Results 143 children (mean age 3 years; limits between 8 days and 14 years) were included. Ultrasound detected at least one area of consolidation in 44 out of 45 patients with positive X-rays. Of the 59 areas of consolidation on X-ray, ultrasound identified 54. In the 8 patients with negative X-ray, ultrasound revealed 17 areas of consolidation. The mean size of consolidations visible only on ultrasound was 9.4 mm; for consolidations visible on both techniques the mean size was 26 mm (p < 0.0001). The sensitivity and specificity of ultrasound were calculated at 98% and 92%. PPV and NPV were 85% and 99%, respectively. Conclusion Chest ultrasound is a fast, non-ionizing and feasible technique. With its high negative predictive value, it can replace X-rays in order to exclude lung consolidation in children, thus reducing radiation exposure in this population.

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Claes, A. S., Clapuyt, P., Menten, R., Michoux, N., & Dumitriu, D. (2017). Performance of chest ultrasound in pediatric pneumonia. European Journal of Radiology, 88, 82–87.

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