Lung ultrasound in COVID-19

Insights from the frontline and research experiences

Chiara Cogliati, Frank Bosch, Yale Tung-Chen, Nick Smallwood, Juan Torres-Macho


Coronavirus disease 19 (COVID-19) has become a global threat. Its clinical course is different from other common illnesses and mortality remains high. It is a challenge for clinicians to provide early diagnosis and to stratify patients at high risk of acute respiratory distress and death.
In order to diagnose Covid-19, clinicians initially had to rely on lung auscultation, chest x-ray, oxygen saturation, and reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (PCR) obtained from respiratory tract specimens but their diagnostic accuracies are limited.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, lung ultrasound (LUS) has emerged as a useful tool, helping in different aspects of management. It is portable, quick, repeatable, easy to learn and with a high reproducibility. It can reduce patient’s exposure to ionizing radiation and contribute to the safety of healthcare providers by minimizing the need for moving the patient, therefore reducing the incidence of cross-contamination and the number of healthcare professionals exposed to the patient.
Although there are different guidelines and recommendations about the use of LUS in patients with Covid 19 pneumonia, there is only emerging robust evidence about it and many recommendations are based on expert opinions. In this article, we will review the role of LUS in the evaluation of COVID-19 pulmonary involvement and its applications for triaging, monitoring, and prognostic management of these patients.

Keywords: Lung ultrasound, Chest ultrasonography, B-lines, COVID-19, Pneumonia.

European Journal of Internal Medicine 90 (2021): 19–24.
DOI: 10.1016/j.ejim.2021.06.004
© 2021 Published by Elsevier B.V. on behalf of European Federation of Internal Medicine.