Diagnostic value of lung ultrasound for neonatal respiratory distress syndrome: a meta-analysis and systematic review

HaiRan Ma, WenKang Yan, Jing Liu


Aim: Neonatal respiratory distress syndrome (NRDS) is one of the most common and severe diseases in neonatal intensive care units worldwide. Increasing evidence suggests that lung ultrasound (LUS) may be a reliable diagnostic tool for neonatal respiratory distress syndrome. The aim of study was to evaluate the diagnostic accuracy of LUS for NRDS with a systematic review and meta-analysis.

Material and methods: We searched for articles in EMBASE, PubMed and Cochrane Central from inception until 17 August 2019. The selected studies were diagnostic accuracy studies that reported the utility of LUS in the diagnosis of NRDS. Two researchers independently extracted data and assessed quality using the QUADAS-2 tool. Then, we created a bivariate mixed effects model to calculate the sensitivity and specificity of LUS in diagnosing NRDS. A summary receiver operator characteristic (SROC) curve was constructed to summarize the performance characteristics of LUS.

Results: Nine studies involving 703 infants were included in the review. LUS had a pooled sensitivity of 0.99 (CI: 0.92-1.00) and a specificity of 0.95 (CI: 0.87-0.98). The areas under the curve for LUS was 0.99 (0.98-1.0). Meta-regression revealed that LUS had a significant diagnostic accuracy for NRDS.

Conclusion: LUS is a promising method that is easily carried out, inexpensive, nonionizing and repeatable and can be performed at the bedside. Current evidence supports LUS as a useful imaging alternative for the diagnosis of NRDS.


ultrasonography; respiratory distress syndrome; newborn

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.11152/mu-2485


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