Lung Ultrasounds Can Help Identify Pneumonia in Children

Ultrasounds can help identify pneumonia and its progression in children without exposure to ionizing radiation.

Lung ultrasonography (LUS) can help identify and follow progress of pneumonia in children, according to an article published in the journal Pediatrics & Neonatology.

Researchers from Taiwan performed a retrospective study to determine if LUS would be an effective tool in diagnosing pediatric pneumonia. A total of 163 children (mean age 73.2 months) were enrolled in the study. All patients underwent chest radiography as well as LUS. LUS was also used to follow 23 of the patients during the progression of their illness.

The results showed a detection rate of 0.93 for radiography and 0.98 for LUS. Of the 163 patients, chest radiography identified pneumonia in 152 patients and LUS detected pneumonia in 159 patients. Four patients had pneumonia detected by radiography and not LUS, while 12 patients showed no pneumonia according to radiography but had lesions detected by LUS.

CharacteristicsLUS positive rates
Comet-tail sign50.9 percent
Air bronchograms93.7 percent
Fluid bronchograms20.1 percent
Vascular pattern28.9 percent
Pleural effusion27 percent







The LUS also tracked the progress of 23 patients:

DayPneumonia patch size
Day 110.9 ± 8.7 cm
Days 3 to 55.5 ± 8.2 cm
Days 7 to 142 ± 1.9 cm






The authors concluded that the LUS showed a high detection rate in identifying pneumonia among children. “We suggest that LUS is a complementary tool to chest radiography in the diagnosis of pneumonia in children and that the follow-up of patients with pneumonia by LUS can reduce the exposure of children to ionizing radiation,” they wrote.