Supplementary Material for: Clinical Use and Barriers of Thoracic Ultrasound: A Survey of Italian Pulmonologists

Introduction: Thoracic ultrasound is accurate in the diagnosis of a wide range of respiratory diseases. Yet the extent of its use is unknown. Through a national survey, we aimed to explore the clinical use of thoracic ultrasound and the barriers to the diffusion of the technique in Italy. Methods: Accademia di Ecografia Toracica (AdET) developed a self-administered survey which was sent by email to Italian pulmonologists via national scientific societies and networks. Results: Of the 2010 physicians invited, 514 completed the survey (26% response rate). According to 99% of responders, thoracic ultrasound had a relevant clinical role. Seventy-nine percent of the responders used thoracic ultrasound at least once a month. The main settings were: 53% pulmonology ward, 15% outpatient clinic, 15% interventional pulmonology room, 10% internal medicine ward, 4% respiratory intensive care units, and 9% other. Thoracic ultrasound was primarily used: (1) with both diagnostic and interventional aims (72%), (2) as diagnostic imaging (17%), and (3) as guidance for interventional procedures (11%). The main clinical applications were: (1) diagnosis and management of pleural effusion, (2) pneumothorax, (3) pneumonia, (4) cardiac failure, and (5) acute dyspnea. Twenty-one percent of the responders do not use thoracic ultrasound. The main reported bar­riers were: (1) availability of an ultrasound system (52%), (2) lack of protected time and training (22%), and (3) use of the technique by other specialists (15%). Conclusion: Thoracic ultrasound is widely used by Italian pulmonologists and considered a clinically relevant tool. The availability of dedicated ultrasound systems seems to be a major limit of the use of the technique.