Lung ultrasound has potential to detect interstitial lung disease
This systematic review identified studies that compared lung ultrasound (LUS) with high-resolution computed tomography (HRCT) in the diagnosis of interstitial lung disease (ILD) in patients with systemic sclerosis (SSc). HRCT is considered standard for the diagnosis of ILD, however, utilizing LUS in diagnosis would eliminate radiation exposure.
A total of 13 studies were included in the final analysis, and LUS protocol was highly heterogeneous throughout. The presence of B-lines as a surrogate of ILD was evaluated by most authors; only 4 evaluated pleural changes.
There was a positive correlation between LUS findings and ILD detected by HRCT, with high sensitivity (74.3%-100%) but variable specificity (16%-99%). Positive predictive value varied between 16% and 95.1%, and negative predictive value was between 51.7% and 100%.
“Lung ultrasound is sensitive in the detection of ILD, but specificity must be optimized,” the authors concluded. “Moreover, a consensus is needed to define a uniform LUS protocol to implement in future investigations.”
Gomes Guerra M, Machado Pinto T, Águeda A, et al. The Role of Lung Ultrasound in Systemic Sclerosis: A Systematic Review. J Clin Rheumatol. 2023;doi: 10.1097/RHU.0000000000001947. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 36870085.