A group of Italian researchers offer guidelines for the use of lung ultrasound to identify and manage patients with COVID-19. Their paper is published in the European Heart Journal—Cardiovascular Imaging. Their review describes the role of lung ultrasound “for the evaluation of COVID-19 pulmonary involvement and its applications for triaging, monitoring, and prognostic management of these patients.”

They write that lung ultrasound can be performed at all steps in the evaluation of COVID-19 patients, including diagnosis at home and in the emergency department, as well as for classifying a patient’s risk and monitoring treatment responses.

The authors also offer scanning schemes as well as a scoring system, differential criteria, and common findings.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has further highlighted the usefulness of LUS in different clinical scenarios, underlining its advantages in terms of availability, operator- and patient-friendliness, relatively low cost and expertise needed, and high sensitivity,” the authors write. “COVID-19 pulmonary involvement can benefit from LUS scanning at all steps of its management, from home monitoring to mechanical ventilation titration. Operators who largely employ LUS in the clinical decision-making should be aware of the potential pitfalls of the technique, especially contextualized in this very peculiar situation, where robust evidence is still missing due to the time contingency. A proper acknowledgement of LUS advantages and limitations is needed to fully benefit from this undoubtedly game-changer bedside imaging approach.”

Find the paper in European Heart Journal—Cardiovascular Imaging.

Featured image: Proposal for lung ultrasound scanning scheme in COVID-19 patients (adapted from Bouhemad et al). Courtesy European Heart Journal—Cardiovascular Imaging.