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J Ultrasound. 2008 Mar;11(1):30-8. doi: 10.1016/j.jus.2007.10.002. Epub 2008 Feb 20.

Ultrasound in the evaluation of interstitial pneumonia.

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1
Pulmonary Medicine Unit I, Cosenza, M. Santo Hospital, Department of General Medicine of the Cosenza Hospital Authority, Cosenza, Italy.

Abstract

in English, Italian

BACKGROUND:

The diagnostic value of thoracic ultrasonography (US) has recently increased. Skilled sonographers with experience in pulmonary medicine have demonstrated the existence of US signs of chest pathology.

PURPOSE:

To detect US findings associated with infectious interstitial pneumonia that can be used to supplement other diagnostic tools.

MATERIALS AND METHODS:

Over a period of 5 years (2001-2006), 55 patients were referred to our ultrasonography units for evaluation of probable viral or viral-like infections of the respiratory tract. Each patient was subjected to a work-up that included clinical examination, blood tests, pulmonary function tests, bronchoscopy, chest radiographs, high-resolution computed tomography (HRCT), and thoracic US, which was performed under blinded conditions.

RESULTS:

Based on the findings that emerged from the work-up described above, all 55 patients were diagnosed with interstitial pneumonia. Evaluation of the US scans for the signs of interstitial lung disease described by Lichtenstein revealed "comet-tail" artifacts in the anterolateral lung fields in 31 (56.36%) patients and mixed patterns consisting in increased density associated with ring-down artifacts in 24 (46.64%). Pleural involvement was also observed in 34 cases (61.82%).

CONCLUSIONS:

Thoracic US appears to be a useful adjunct to clinical, laboratory and radiological studies in patients suspected of having infectious interstitial pneumonia.

KEYWORDS:

Interstitial pneumonia; Pulmonary function tests; Radiological tests; Thoracic ultrasonography

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