Utility and diagnostic accuracy of bedside lung ultrasonography during medical emergency team (MET) activations for respiratory deterioration☆,☆☆

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Abstract

Purpose

We investigated the feasibility and diagnostic accuracy of lung ultrasonography during medical emergency team (MET) activations for respiratory deterioration.

Material and methods

We performed a prospective study of inpatients requiring MET evaluation for respiratory decompensation. A blinded investigator recorded videos of lung and lower extremity ultrasonography. The videos were reviewed by blinded investigators to determine a ultrasonography diagnosis. The accuracy of MET diagnosis and ultrasonography diagnosis were compared to the final diagnosis determined by retrospective chart review.

Results

The ultrasound exam was completed in 49/50 (98%) patients enrolled in the study with a mean duration of 13 ± 4 min. When excluding six cases that were not amenable to diagnosis by our algorithm, we report a lung ultrasonography diagnostic accuracy of 84% (37/44) which is similar to the accuracy of the MET clinical diagnosis of 75% (33/44) (p = 0.29). Furthermore, we report in 28/37 (76%) of cases where the lung ultrasonography diagnosis was correct, patients may have received inappropriate therapies.

Conclusions

Lung ultrasonography can be rapidly performed in the majority of patients with MET activation for respiratory deterioration. As an independent diagnostic test, lung ultrasonography is non-inferior to the MET clinical assessment and may prevent unnecessary treatments if used simultaneously.

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