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Investigation of Childhood Pneumonia With Thoracic Ultrasound: A Comparison Between X-ray and Ultrasound.

Ultrasound Quarterly 2023 August 4
Childhood pneumonia is a common entity, and chest x-rays are widely used as an initial diagnostic step. To avoid radiation exposure in the pediatric age group, we assessed whether the diagnostic accuracy of ultrasound (US) imaging is sufficient in the diagnosis. One hundred thirty-three children with pneumonia (72 girls/61 boys) were participated to study between 2019 and 2021. All participants had a chest x-ray. Radiologists who perform the US scans and interpret the x-rays were blinded to each other. A comparative analysis was also done to assess US findings on pneumonia for different age groups. We compare the diagnostic accuracy of US and x-rays by McNemar test and receiver operating characteristic curves. Intraclass correlation coefficient values were calculated for the assessment of interobserver agreement of x-ray evaluation. The participants' ages ranged from 1 month to 17 years and 8 months with a median age of 24 months (Q1: 8 and Q3: 66 months). Hospital stay lengths were longer, consolidation depths were greater, and presence of air bronchogram or pleural effusion was more frequent in school-age children. The proportion of consolidation seen on chest x-ray and transthoracic US scan was significantly different (P < 0.001). The area under the curve was greater in the US than in the chest x-ray (area under the curve, 0.94 and 0.76 respectively). There was a good agreement between the 2 interpreters on chest x-ray assessment (κ = 0.661). The thoracic US can be used as a safe and efficient imaging tool in the diagnosis of pediatric pneumonia.

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