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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Using Lung Point-of-care Ultrasound in Suspected COVID-19: Case Series and Proposed Triage Algorithm

  • Author(s): Duggan, Nicole M.;
  • Liteplo, Andrew S.;
  • Shokoohi, Hamid;
  • Goldsmith, Andrew J.
  • et al.
Creative Commons 'BY' version 4.0 license

Introduction: First detected in December 2019, the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 pandemic upended the global community in a few short months. Diagnostic testing is currently limited in availability, accuracy, and efficiency. Imaging modalities such as chest radiograph (CXR), computed tomography, and lung ultrasound each demonstrate characteristic findings of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Lung ultrasound offers benefits over other imaging modalities including portability, cost, reduced exposure of healthcare workers as well as decreased contamination of equipment such as computed tomography scanners.

Case Series: Here we present a case series describing consistent lung ultrasound findings in patients with confirmed COVID-19 despite variable clinical presentations and CXR findings. We discuss a triage algorithm for clinical applicability and utility of lung point-of-care ultrasound in the setting of COVID-19 and advocate for judicious and targeted use of this tool.

Conclusion: Lung point-of-care ultrasound can provide valuable data supporting diagnostic and triage decisions surrounding suspected cases of COVID-19. Prospective studies validating our proposed triage algorithm are warranted.

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