JOURNAL ARTICLE

Value of Lung Ultrasonography in the Diagnosis and Outcome Prediction of Pediatric Community-Acquired Pneumonia with Necrotizing Change

Shen-Hao Lai, Kin-Sun Wong, Sui-Ling Liao
PloS One 2015, 10 (6): e0130082
26086718

BACKGROUND: Lung ultrasonography has been advocated in diagnosing pediatric community-acquired pneumonia. However, its function in identifying necrotizing pneumonia, a complication, has not been explored. This study investigated the value of lung ultrasonography in diagnosing pediatric necrotizing pneumonia and its role in predicting clinical outcomes.

METHODS: We retrospectively reviewed 236 children with community-acquired pneumonia who were evaluated using lung ultrasonography within 2-3 days after admission. The ultrasonographic features assessed included lung perfusion, the presence of hypoechoic lesions, and the amount of pleural effusion. Chest computed tomography was also performed in 96 patients as clinically indicated. Detailed records of clinical information were obtained.

RESULTS: Our results showed a high correlation between the degree of impaired perfusion in ultrasonography and the severity of necrosis in computed tomography (r = 0.704). The degree of impaired perfusion can favorably be used to predict massive necrosis in computed tomography (area under the receiver operating characteristic curve, 0.908). The characteristics of impaired perfusion and hypoechoic lesions in ultrasonography were associated with an increased risk of pneumatocele formation (odds ratio (OR), 10.11; 95% CI, 2.95-34.64) and the subsequent requirement for surgical lung resection (OR, 8.28; 95% CI, 1.86-36.93). Furthermore, a longer hospital stay would be expected if moderate-to-massive pleural effusion was observed in addition to impaired perfusion in ultrasonography (OR, 3.08; 95% CI, 1.15-8.29).

CONCLUSION: Lung ultrasonography is favorably correlated with chest computed tomography in the diagnosis of necrotizing pneumonia, especially regarding massive necrosis of the lung. Because it is a simple and reliable imaging tool that is valuable in predicting clinical outcomes, we suggest that ultrasonography be applied as a surrogate for computed tomography for the early detection of severe necrotizing pneumonia in children.

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