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Ultrasound and CT Imaging Similar in Pediatric Pneumonia

Study recommends ultrasound for routine imaging, reserving CT scan for special cases

THURSDAY, Nov. 26 (HealthDay News) -- Chest ultrasound is as effective as computed tomography (CT) for visualizing the lungs of children with pneumonia and parapneumonic effusion, according to a study in the December issue of the American Journal of Roentgenology.

Jessica Kurian, M.D., of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in Bronx, N.Y., and colleagues compared imaging from chest ultrasound and chest CT scans in 19 children with complicated pneumonia and parapneumonic effusion. The researchers evaluated the modalities for disparities in the imaging of effusion, fibrin strands, parenchymal consolidation, loculation, necrosis and abscess. The imaging was compared to surgical findings when available.

The researchers note that both imaging modalities showed effusion for 18 of 19 patients, and loculation, parenchymal consolidation, necrosis and abscess all were visualized similarly. However, chest ultrasound was found better able to visualize strands of fibrin within the effusions. Chest ultrasound was able to show parenchymal abscess or necrosis in four of five patients in whom surgery later confirmed those conditions. Chest CT was able to visualize parenchymal abscess or necrosis in three of the five patients.

"Chest CT did not provide any additional clinically useful information that was not also seen on chest ultrasound. We suggest that the imaging workup of complicated pediatric pneumonia include chest radiography and chest ultrasound, reserving chest CT for cases in which the chest ultrasound is technically limited or discrepant with the clinical findings," the authors write.

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