Cardiovascular abnormalities in chest radiographs of children with pneumonia, Uganda

Nabawanuka E, Ameda F, Erem G, Bugeza S, Opoka RO, Kiguli S, Amorut D, Aloroker F, Olupot-Olupot P, Mnjalla H, Mpoya A, Maitland K
Bull World Health Organ. 2023;101

Permenent descriptor

OBJECTIVE: To describe chest radiograph findings among children hospitalized with clinically diagnosed severe pneumonia and hypoxaemia at three tertiary facilities in Uganda. METHODS: The study involved clinical and radiograph data on a random sample of 375 children aged 28 days to 12 years enrolled in the Children's Oxygen Administration Strategies Trial in 2017. Children were hospitalized with a history of respiratory illness and respiratory distress complicated by hypoxaemia, defined as a peripheral oxygen saturation (SpO(2)) < 92%. Radiologists blinded to clinical findings interpreted chest radiographs using standardized World Health Organization method for paediatric chest radiograph reporting. We report clinical and chest radiograph findings using descriptive statistics. FINDINGS: Overall, 45.9% (172/375) of children had radiological pneumonia, 36.3% (136/375) had a normal chest radiograph and 32.8% (123/375) had other radiograph abnormalities, with or without pneumonia. In addition, 28.3% (106/375) had a cardiovascular abnormality, including 14.9% (56/375) with both pneumonia and another abnormality. There was no significant difference in the prevalence of radiological pneumonia or of cardiovascular abnormalities or in 28-day mortality between children with severe hypoxaemia (SpO(2): < 80%) and those with mild hypoxaemia (SpO(2): 80 to < 92%). CONCLUSION: Cardiovascular abnormalities were relatively common among children hospitalized with severe pneumonia in Uganda. The standard clinical criteria used to identify pneumonia among children in resource-poor settings were sensitive but lacked specificity. Chest radiographs should be performed routinely for all children with clinical signs of severe pneumonia because it provides useful information on both cardiovascular and respiratory systems.