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Use of lung ultrasound in detection of complications of respiratory distress syndrome.

Repeated chest radiography is required for the diagnosis and follow-up of neonates with respiratory distress syndrome (RDS) and carries the risk of radiation hazards. Lung ultrasound (LUS) is a non-invasive bedside diagnostic tool that has proven to be effective in the diagnosis of RDS. Our aim was to assess the role of LUS with respect to the standard chest X-ray (CXR) in the detection of complications of RDS in neonates. Ninety premature newborns of both genders with RDS (mean gestational age = 29.91 ± 1.33 wk) and 40 premature babies as a control group were involved in this study. All patients underwent initial clinical assessment as well as CXR and LUS. Those who presented with respiratory distress and/or exhibited deterioration of oxygenation parameters were followed by CXR and, within 4 h, by LUS. Alveolo-interstitial syndrome and pleural line abnormalities were detected in all cases (100%) in the initial assessment, patchy consolidation was detected in 34 cases and white lung was detected in 80 cases. Alveolo-interstitial syndrome was detected in 19 controls. In follow-up of the patients, LUS was superior to CXR in detection of consolidation and sub-pleural atelectasis, but not in detection of pneumothorax. We concluded that bedside LUS is a good non-hazardous alternative tool in the early detection and follow-up of RDS in the neonatal intensive care unit; it could be of value in reducing exposure to unnecessary radiation.

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