Bedside Ultrasound for the Diagnosis of Abnormal Diaphragmatic Motion in Children After Heart Surgery

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Objective:To assess the utility of bedside ultrasound combining B- and M-mode in the diagnosis of abnormal diaphragmatic motion in children after heart surgery.Design:Prospective post hoc blinded comparison of ultrasound performed by two different intensivists and fluoroscopy results with electromyography.Setting:Tertiary university hospital.Subjects:Children with suspected abnormal diaphragmatic motion after heart surgery.Interventions:None.Measurements and Main Results:Abnormal diaphragmatic motion was suspected in 26 children. Electromyography confirmed the diagnosis in 20 of 24 children (83.3%). The overall occurrence rate of abnormal diaphragmatic motion during the study period was 7.5%. Median patient age was 5 months (range, 16 d to 14 yr). Sensitivity and specificity of chest ultrasound performed at the bedside by the two intensivists (91% and 92% and 92% and 95%, respectively) were higher than those obtained by fluoroscopy (87% and 83%). Interobserver agreement (k) between both intensivists was 0.957 (95% CI, 0.87–100).Conclusions:Chest ultrasound performed by intensivists is a valid tool for the diagnosis of diaphragmatic paralysis, presenting greater sensitivity and specificity than fluoroscopy. Chest ultrasound should be routinely used after pediatric heart surgery given its reliability, reproducibility, availability, and safety.

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