Point-of-care lung ultrasound in patients with COVID-19 – a narrative review (2020)

Type of publication:
Journal article

Author(s):
Smith, M J; Hayward, S A; Innes, S M; *Miller, A S C

Citation:
Anaesthesia; Aug 2020, vol. 75 (no. 8); p. 1096-1104

Abstract:
Ultrasound imaging of the lung and associated tissues may play an important role in the management of patients with COVID-19-associated lung injury. Compared with other monitoring modalities, such as auscultation or radiographic imaging, we argue lung ultrasound has high diagnostic accuracy, is ergonomically favourable and has fewer infection control implications. By informing the initiation, escalation, titration and weaning of respiratory support, lung ultrasound can be integrated into COVID-19 care pathways for patients with respiratory failure. Given the unprecedented pressure on healthcare services currently, supporting and educating clinicians is a key enabler of the wider implementation of lung ultrasound. This narrative review provides a summary of evidence and clinical guidance for the use and interpretation of lung ultrasound for patients with moderate, severe and critical COVID-19-associated lung injury. Mechanisms by which the potential lung ultrasound workforce can be deployed are explored, including a pragmatic approach to training, governance, imaging, interpretation of images and implementation of lung ultrasound into routine clinical practice.

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