Morpho-functional evaluation of lung aeration as a marker of sickle-cell acute chest syndrome severity in the ICU: a prospective cohort study


Acute chest syndrome (ACS) is the main cause of morbi-mortality in patients with sickle-cell disease in the intensive care unit (ICU). ACS definition encompasses many types of lung damage, making early detection of the most severe forms challenging. We aimed to describe ACS-related lung ultrasound (LU) patterns and determine LU performance to assess ACS outcome.


We performed a prospective cohort study including 56 ICU patients hospitalized for ACS in a tertiary university hospital (Paris, France). LU and bedside spirometry were performed at admission (D0) and after 48 h (D2). Complicated outcome was defined by the need for transfusion of ≥ 3 red blood cell units, mechanical ventilation, ICU length-of-stay > 5 days, or death. A severe loss of lung aeration was observed in all patients, predominantly in inferior lobes, and was associated with decreased vital capacity (22 [15–33]% of predicted). The LU Score was 24 [20–28] on D0 and 20 [15–24] on D2. Twenty-five percent of patients (14/56) had a complicated outcome. Neither oxygen supply, pain score, haemoglobin, LDH and bilirubin values at D0; nor their change at D2, differed regarding patient outcome. Conversely, LU re-aeration score and spirometry change at D2 improved significantly more in patients with a favourable outcome. A negative LU re-aeration score at D2 was an independent marker of severity of ACS in ICU.


ACS is associated with severe loss of lung aeration, whose resolution is associated with favourable outcome. Serial bedside LU may accurately and early identify ACS patients at risk of complicated outcome.

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Last updated: 01/10/2019

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