Clinical Use and Barriers of Thoracic Ultrasound: A Survey of Italian Pulmonologists

AdET Study Group, Alessandro Zanforlin, Francesco Tursi, Giampietro Marchetti, Giulia Michela Pellegrino, Beatrice Vigo, Andrea Smargiassi, Riccardo Inchingolo, Stefano Centanni, Stefano Gasparini, Francesco Blasi, Gino Soldati, Giuseppe Francesco Sferrazza Papa

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

Introduction: Thoracic ultrasound is accurate in the diagnosis of a wide range of respiratory diseases. Yet the extent of its use is unknown. Through a national survey, we aimed to explore the clinical use of thoracic ultrasound and the barriers to the diffusion of the technique in Italy. Methods: Accademia di Ecografia Toracica (AdET) developed a self-administered survey which was sent by email to Italian pulmonologists via national scientific societies and networks. Results: Of the 2010 physicians invited, 514 completed the survey (26% response rate). According to 99% of responders, thoracic ultrasound had a relevant clinical role. Seventy-nine percent of the responders used thoracic ultrasound at least once a month. The main settings were: 53% pulmonology ward, 15% outpatient clinic, 15% interventional pulmonology room, 10% internal medicine ward, 4% respiratory intensive care units, and 9% other. Thoracic ultrasound was primarily used: (1) with both diagnostic and interventional aims (72%), (2) as diagnostic imaging (17%), and (3) as guidance for interventional procedures (11%). The main clinical applications were: (1) diagnosis and management of pleural effusion, (2) pneumothorax, (3) pneumonia, (4) cardiac failure, and (5) acute dyspnea. Twenty-one percent of the responders do not use thoracic ultrasound. The main reported bar-riers were: (1) availability of an ultrasound system (52%), (2) lack of protected time and training (22%), and (3) use of the technique by other specialists (15%). Conclusion: Thoracic ultrasound is widely used by Italian pulmonologists and considered a clinically relevant tool. The availability of dedicated ultrasound systems seems to be a major limit of the use of the technique.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)171-176
JournalRespiration
Volume99
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine

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