Ultrasound in the Assessment of Pulmonary Fibrosis in Connective Tissue Disorders: Correlation with High-Resolution Computed Tomography
The Journal of Rheumatology, 07/11/2012
Tardella M et al. – The study demonstrates that ultrasound (US) B–line assessment may be a useful and reliable additional imaging method in the evaluation of pulmonary fibrosis (PF) in patients with connective tissue disorders (CTD). Methods
- Thirty–four patients with a diagnosis of CTD were included.
- Each patient underwent clinical examination, pulmonary function test (PFT), chest HRCT, and lung US by an experienced radiologist or rheumatologist.
- A second rheumatologist carried out US examinations to assess interobserver agreement.
- In each patient, US B–line lung assessment including 50 intercostal spaces (IS) was performed.
- For the anterior and lateral chest, the IS were the second to the fifth along the parasternal, mid–clavicular, anterior axillary, and medial axillary lines (the left fifth IS of the anterior and lateral chest was not performed because of the presence of the heart, which limits lung visualization).
- For the posterior chest, the IS assessed were the seventh to the eighth along the posterior–axillary and subscapular lines.
- The second to eighth IS were assessed in the paravertebral line.
- In each IS, the number of US B–lines under the transducer was recorded, summed, and graded according to the following semiquantitative scoring: grade 0 = normal (< 10 B–lines); grade 1 = mild (11 to 20 B–lines); grade 2 = moderate (21 to 50 Blines); and grade 3 = marked (> 50 B–lines).
- A total of 1700 IS in 34 patients were assessed.
- A significant linear correlation was found between the US score and the HRCT score (p < 0.001; correlation coefficient r = 0.875).
- A positive correlation was found between US B–line assessments and values of DLCO (p = 0.014).
- Both κ values and overall percentages of interobserver agreement showed excellent agreement.