Am J Trop Med Hyg. 2020 Sep 9. doi: 10.4269/ajtmh.20-0538. Online ahead of print.
Two patients with respiratory failure due to confirmed COVID-19 were examined using bedside lung ultrasound (LUS) shortly after intubation and start of invasive ventilation. In the first patient, LUS revealed extensive atelectatic areas. A recruitment maneuver was applied, resulting in some reaeration of areas that showed atelectasis, and some improvement in oxygenation was observed. Oxygenation improved further with the use of prone positioning. In the second patient, LUS showed diffuse abnormalities without atelectatic areas, and ventilation proceeded without a recruitment maneuver but with prone positioning. These two cases illustrate how LUS could be useful in identifying different lung morphologies early after the start of invasive ventilation and help decide on adjunctive therapies. This has possible implications for ventilator management in resource-limited settings, with limited availability of chest computed tomography and blood gas analyzers. Tailoring invasive ventilation based on LUS findings early after the start of invasive ventilation is feasible, but this should be further evaluated in future studies.