University of São Paulo: Pulmonary ultrasound: an essential prognostic tool in the fight against the pandemic

The beginning of the pandemic, the emergency rooms of Brazilian hospitals were overloaded with patients, a situation that showed the scarcity of existing resources in most places. To assess the severity of patients, and even to establish priorities in care, imaging tests proved essential for diagn ó need septic lung problems presented by patients who have contracted the virus. In this sense, a study by the Medical School of USP with 355 patients chose pulmonary ultrasound as a focus on the prognosis of those infected with covid-19.
In an interview with the Jornal da USP no Ar 1st Edition , Julio Cesar Garcia de Alencar, a physician in the Emergency Department of Clinical Medicine at Hospital das Clínicas and the first author of the study, comments that, “when covid-19 started in São Paulo, still a little knowledge about the clinical evolution of the virus ”. He explains that, at that moment, many questions still lingered on the minds of professionals: which patient could become more serious? Which patient should be admitted? Which patient should be admitted to the infirmary or ICU? Which patient could go home?

Application that analyzes radiography evolves and identifies diseases other than covid-19

Application created at USP makes the diagnosis of covid-19 from lung radiography
Alencar details that, from these questions, the team started to study imaging methods to help in this decision making. “We needed a tool at the bedside, that was easy, reproducible, and that we could, at the bedside, with our patient, assess the degree of lung involvement by the disease and we could predict, say what were the chances of this patient get worse ”, details the doctor. With that, came the team’s decision to use pulmonary ultrasound as a prognostic tool.

Currently, Hospital das Clínicas evaluates the lungs of patients with covid-19 in 12 images and, from that, each image receives a score from zero to three points with respect to the degree of involvement, with zero being a normal lung and three points one affected lung. Thus, the maximum score is 36 points per patient. The higher the score, the greater the chance of this patient evolving unfavorably over the next few days. Ultrasonography helps healthcare professionals to predict which patients may have the most severe condition in the coming days, and thus decide which person needs to use the available beds in a hospital more quickly.