Pulmonary ultrasound presents greater precision than thorax radiography for the diagnosis of COVID-19 pneumonia

According to a study, with more than 200 patients at the Balaguer Primary Care Center

Researchers in primary care in Lleida, the University of Lleida (UdL), the Jordi Gol Primary Care Research Institute (IDIAP) and the Lleida Biomedical Research Institute (IRBLleida) have recently published a study which determines that pulmonary ultrasound is more accurate than chest radiograph to diagnose COVID-19-induced pneumonia. The research, carried out with the participation of more than 200 patients from CAP Balaguer between March and September 2020, was carried out in collaboration with the County Council of La Noguera. The study, titled 'Higher accuracy of lung ultrasound over chest X-ray for early diagnosis of Covid-19 pneumonia', has been published in the high-impact journal International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.

According to the authors of the study (Javier Martínez, José María Palacín, Jesús Pujol, Cristina García, Montse Crespo, Carles Comas and Marta Ortega), the early diagnosis of COVID-19 pneumonia is vital to start treatment more appropriate in early stages of the disease. Given that most patients with COVID-19 are cared for in primary care, it is very relevant that the results of the study prove that lung ultrasound is the most accurate tool at this level. care to identify which patients with COVID-19 may develop pneumonia, especially for those with severe interstitial disease. In these cases, the ability of ultrasound to detect the seriously ill is 100%, according to the published results.

The mean age of the patients included in this study is 49 years; 58% are men and the most common symptom was fever in 72% of cases. Only 3.7% of patients had the four symptoms associated with COVID-19 at the time of admission (cough, shortness of breath, fever above 37 ° C, and oxygen saturation below 95%).

Marta Ortega, the responsible of the Professional Development Area of ​​the Lleida Primary Care Directorate, explains that the incorporation of ultrasound as a test for patients with COVID-19 suspected of pneumonia will help improve decision-making by patients. patients with respect to the patient, and will optimize care resources.

According to the study, the negative predictive value of ultrasound is very relevant and, as a result, this diagnostic tool allows to rule out lung pathology and avoid referrals to the emergency services of hospitals.

Likewise, Marta Ortega informs that, since some years now, in the territory of Lleida, the use of ultrasound in primary care has been progressively implemented in order to complement the patient's assessment at the point of care and , during the pandemic, this has made it possible to diagnose patients with COVID-19 pneumonia even in the early stages of the pandemic, when RT-PCR tests were not available. The training and implementation of the use of ultrasound in primary care in Lleida as a strategic line for health professionals began in 2012 and has had annual continuity until today. This effort has been rewarded with this publication, which is the second scientific article published by primary care professionals in this field around the world.

HUAV Photography: Pulmonary Ultrasound in Primary Care