This study investigated the clinical relevance of early general chest ultrasonography (ie, heart and lung recordings) in patients in the ICU with acute respiratory failure (ARF).Methods:
We prospectively compared this diagnostic approach (ultrasound) to a routine evaluation established from clinical, radiologic, and biologic data (standard). Subjects were patients consecutively admitted to the ICU of a university teaching hospital during a 1-year period. Inclusion criteria were age ≥ 18 years and the presence of severe ARF criteria to justify ICU admission. We compared the diagnostic approaches and the final diagnosis determined by a panel of experts.Results:
Seventy-eight patients were included (age, 70 ± 18 years; sex ratio, 1). Three patients given two or more simultaneous diagnoses were subsequently excluded. The ultrasound approach was more accurate than the standard approach (83% vs 63%, respectively;P< .02). Receiver operating characteristic curve analysis showed greater diagnostic performance of ultrasound in cases of pneumonia (standard, 0.74 ± 0.12; ultrasound, 0.87 ± 0.14;P< .02), acute hemodynamic pulmonary edema (standard, 0.79 ± 0.11; ultrasound, 0.93 ± 0.08;P< .007), decompensated COPD (standard, 0.8 ± 0.09; ultrasound, 0.92 ± 0.15;P< .05), and pulmonary embolism (standard, 0.65 ± 0.12; ultrasound, 0.81 ± 0.17;P< .04). Furthermore, we found that the use of ultrasound data could have significantly improved the initial treatment.Conclusions:
The use of cardiothoracic ultrasound appears to be an attractive complementary diagnostic tool and seems able to contribute to an early therapeutic decision based on reproducible physiopathologic data.