Istituto di Fisiologia Clinica     
Gargani L., Doveri M., D'Errico L., Frassi F., Bazzichi L. M., Delle Sedie A., Scali M. C., Monti S., Mondillo S., Bombardieri S., Caramella D., Picano E. Ultrasound lung comets in systemic sclerosis: a chest sonography hallmark of pulmonary interstitial fibrosis. In: Rheumatology, vol. 48 pp. 1382 - 1387. Oxford University Press, 2009.
Objective. To assess the correlation between ultrasound lung comets (ULCs, a recently described echographic sign of interstitial lung fibrosis) and the current undisputed gold-standard high-resolution CT (HRCT) to detect pulmonary fibrosis in patients with SSc. Methods. We enrolled 33 consecutive SSc patients (mean age 5413 years, 30 females) in the Rheumatology Clinic of the University of Pisa. We assessed ULCs and chest HRCT within 1 week independently in all the patients. ULC score was obtained by summing the number of lung comets on the anterior and posterior chest. Pulmonary fibrosis was quantified by HRCT with a previously described 30-point Warrick score. Results. Presence of ULCs (defined as a total number more than 10) was observed in 17 (51%) SSc patients. Mean ULC score was 3750, higher in the diffuse than in the limited form (7366 vs 2135; P<0.05). A significant positive linear correlation was found between ULCs and Warrick scores (rž0.72; P<0.001). Conclusions. ULCs are often found in SSc, are more frequent in the diffuse than the limited form and are reasonably well correlated with HRCT-derived assessment of lung fibrosis. They represent a simple, bedside, radiation-free hallmark of pulmonary fibrosis of potential diagnostic and prognostic value.
DOI: 10.1093/rheumatology/kep263
Subject systemic sclerosis

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