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ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2021  |  Volume : 29  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 15-21

Ultrasonography: An unchartered modality in the current pandemic – A study among patients admitted in the COVID-19 intensive care unit


Department of Radio-Diagnosis, Kalinga Institute of Medical Sciences, Bhubaneswar, Odisha, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Humsheer Singh Sethi
Department of Radio-Diagnosis, Kalinga Institute of Medical Sciences, Bhubaneswar, Odisha
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/JMU.JMU_147_20

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Background: The objectives were to perform an analysis of lung ultrasonography (LUS) findings in severely ill patients with novel coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) and to compare the accuracy with high-resolution computed tomography (HRCT) of the thorax. Methods: Sixty-two intensive care unit (ICU) patients with COVID-19 were evaluated during their hospital stay. LUS was performed with convex and linear transducers using a designated ultrasonography machine placed in the COVID-19 ICU. The thorax was scanned in 12 areas. Initial LUS was performed on admission and follow-up LUS was done in 7 (mean) days. At the time of the initial LUS, HRCT was performed in 28/62 patients and a chest radiography in 19/62 patients. Results: On admission, LUS detected pleural line thickening (>6 lung areas) in 49/62, confluent B-lines in 38/62, and separate B-lines in 34/62, consolidation in 12/62, C prime profile in 19/62, and pleural and cardiac effusions in 4/62 and 1/62, respectively. The single beam “torchlight” artifact was seen in 16/62, which may possibly be a variation of the B-line which has not been described earlier. Follow-up LUS detected significantly lower rates (P < 0.05) of abnormalities. Conclusion: Ultrasound demonstrated B-lines, variable consolidations, and pleural line irregularities. This study also sheds light on the appearance of the C prime pattern and “torchlight” B-lines which were not described in COVID-19 earlier. LUS findings were significantly reduced by the time of the follow-up scan, insinuating at a rather slow but consistent reduction in some COVID-19 lung lesions. However, the lung ultrasound poorly correlated with HRCT as a diagnostic modality in COVID-19 patients.


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