The clinical use of lung ultrasound (LUS) has made more efficient many diagnostic processes at bedside. The great power of LUS is a superior diagnostic sensitivity in many applications, when compared to chest radiography (CXR). The implementation of LUS in emergency is contributing to reveal a growing number of radio-occult pulmonary conditions. In some diseases, the superior sensitivity of LUS is a great advantage, like for pneumothorax and pulmonary edema. Diagnosing at bedside pneumothoraxes, pulmonary congestions, and COVID-19 pneumonia that are visible by LUS but undetected by CXR may be decisive for appropriate management, and even for saving lives. However, in other conditions, like bacterial pneumonia and small peripheral infarctions due to subsegmental pulmonary embolism, the high sensitivity of LUS does not always lead to advantages. Indeed, we doubt that it is always necessary to treat by antibiotics patients suspected of lower respiratory tract infection, who show radio-occult pulmonary consolidations, and to treat by anticoagulation patients with small subsegmental pulmonary embolism. The possibility that we are overtreating radio-occult conditions should be investigated with dedicated clinical trials.

Lung ultrasound: are we diagnosing too much?

Volpicelli, Giovanni
;
2023-01-01

Abstract

The clinical use of lung ultrasound (LUS) has made more efficient many diagnostic processes at bedside. The great power of LUS is a superior diagnostic sensitivity in many applications, when compared to chest radiography (CXR). The implementation of LUS in emergency is contributing to reveal a growing number of radio-occult pulmonary conditions. In some diseases, the superior sensitivity of LUS is a great advantage, like for pneumothorax and pulmonary edema. Diagnosing at bedside pneumothoraxes, pulmonary congestions, and COVID-19 pneumonia that are visible by LUS but undetected by CXR may be decisive for appropriate management, and even for saving lives. However, in other conditions, like bacterial pneumonia and small peripheral infarctions due to subsegmental pulmonary embolism, the high sensitivity of LUS does not always lead to advantages. Indeed, we doubt that it is always necessary to treat by antibiotics patients suspected of lower respiratory tract infection, who show radio-occult pulmonary consolidations, and to treat by anticoagulation patients with small subsegmental pulmonary embolism. The possibility that we are overtreating radio-occult conditions should be investigated with dedicated clinical trials.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/20.500.12317/92457
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