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LUNG ULTRASOUND IN THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC: A PRACTICAL GUIDE FOR OBSTETRICIANS AND GYNECOLOGISTS

Authors
  • Youssef, Aly1
  • Serra, Carla2
  • Pilu, Gianluigi1
  • 1 Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Sant’Orsola Malpighi University Hospital, University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy
  • 2 Department of Organ Failure and Transplantation, Sant'Orsola-Malpighi Hospital, Bologna, Italy
Type
Published Article
Journal
American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology
Publisher
Elsevier Inc.
Publication Date
May 11, 2020
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1016/j.ajog.2020.05.014
PMCID: PMC7211707
Source
PubMed Central
License
Unknown

Abstract

The current COVID-19 pandemic is a challenge to every health system over the globe. Unfortunately, it is likely that this emergency will not disappear soon. No health system, with its present resources and work flow is ready to deal with a full-blown wave of this pandemic. Rapid acquisition of specific new skills may be fundamental in delivering appropriate health care for our patients. COVID-19 infection is classically diagnosed by real time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction and radiological investigations (X-ray or high-resolution computerized tomography). These techniques are not without limitations. Ultrasound has been suggested as a reliable and accurate tool for assessing the lungs in patients with suspected pneumonia. Obstetricians and gynecologists are usually familiar with the use of ultrasound. Lung ultrasound can show specific signs of interstitial pneumonia, which is characteristic of COVID-19 pulmonary infection. We believe that extensive and rapid training of healthcare providers on the application of ultrasound in the detection of characteristic pulmonary signs of COVID-19 infection, in addition to proper care and handling of their ultrasound machines, is feasible and may be critical in order to provide appropriate management especially of the obstetric patient in the coming period. We present a systematic approach to lung examination, simplified to encourage its adoption by obstetricians and gynecologists, together with an example of a recent pregnant woman with COVID-19 infection, in which lung ultrasound was useful in the management.

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