Ultrasound matches X-rays in finding pneumonia in children

New research presented at the 32nd Annual Meeting of the European Society of Pediatric Infectious Diseases suggests that ultrasound is as accurate as chest X-ray for detecting pneumonia in children. The research was conducted at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and led by Lilliam Ambroggio, PhD, assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of Cincinnati.

Her study included 37 patients, ranging in age from 3 months to 18 years of age, who received both chest ultrasound and chest X-rays. The exams were read by four clinically blinded radiologists. Ultrasound turned out to be somewhat more sensitive but less specific than a chest X-ray—better at finding actual cases of pneumonia, but with more false positives.

Dr. Ambroggio said the two modalities were about even. “CT remains the gold standard for diagnosing pneumonia in children," she said. "However, ultrasound and chest radiography in our study were statistically equivalent, suggesting the potential for chest ultrasonography to replace chest X-rays in detecting pneumonia in children, particularly in outpatient and resource-limited areas.