The research objective of the UNITE Study is to assess the potential efficacy of ultrasound application to the spleen in the treatment of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in a pilot study. Specific Aims: 1. Determine the efficacy of splenic ultrasound in affecting markers of systemic inflammation in COVID-19 infection. 2. Evaluate the potential efficacy of splenic ultrasound in affecting clinical outcomes in COVID-19 infection.



Eligible Ages
Over 18 Years
Eligible Genders
Accepts Healthy Volunteers

Inclusion Criteria

  • Age 18 and above - Positive for SARS-CoV-2 (via PCR) - Decreased blood oxygen saturation: Room air SaO2 < 94% and/or requiring supplemental oxygen to maintain SaO2 > 90% - Admission to the hospital

Exclusion Criteria

  • Pregnant women - Asplenia - Ascites - Open wound/sores near the stimulation site - Recent abdominal surgery - Splenomegaly - Mechanically ventilated (if patient goes onto mechanical ventilation while participating in the study, they can continue ultrasound treatment if recommended by standard of care clinician and investigators of the study) - Comfort care status - Any other clinical reasons deemed by the investigators of the study in which the patient would not be an appropriate candidate for the study

Study Design

Study Type
Intervention Model
Parallel Assignment
Intervention Model Description
The participants will be randomized to two groups: ultrasound group and control group. All participants will still receive standard clinical care. The ultrasound group will receive daily ultrasound application to the spleen for up to 7 days, in addition to the standard clinical care. The control group will receive standard clinical care without ultrasound stimulation.
Primary Purpose
None (Open Label)

Arm Groups

ArmDescriptionAssigned Intervention
Ultrasound Group
Daily ultrasound application to the spleen of approximately 10 minutes for up to 7 days, in addition to standard clinical care.
  • Device: Splenic ultrasound
    GE LOGIQ E10 device with C1-6 ultrasound probe
No Intervention
Control Group
Standard clinical care with no ultrasound stimulation.

Recruiting Locations

More Details

Enrolling by invitation
University of Minnesota

Detailed Description

Ultrasound is widely used in human medicine because it is safe, non-invasive, and painless. The same kind of ultrasound that is used for imaging (for example, to visualize babies in utero) may be able to treat inflammatory diseases including COVID-19. COVID-19 is a disease caused by infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Some COVID-19 patients develop a severe respiratory disease called acute respiratory distress syndrome and this disease is caused, in part, by a significant increase in inflammatory factors. Clinical therapies that reduce this elevated inflammation in the body (e.g., inflammation molecules in your body called cytokines) may be capable of diminishing symptoms in severe cases of COVID-19. Multiple studies in animals with hyper-inflammation conditions (e.g., inflammatory arthritis and sepsis/LPS injections) and recent human studies (e.g., for the treatment of joint inflammation in Rheumatoid Arthritis) have shown that ultrasound applied to the spleen can suppress blood/genetic markers of inflammation. Similar inflammatory markers, or cytokines, are elevated in the lungs of COVID-19 patients and believed to cause severe symptoms. Splenic ultrasound can potentially lower these inflammatory cytokines without hindering antibody production, leading to clinical improvements in COVID-19 patients. This study will employ ultrasound devices produced by General Electric (GE LOGIQ E10 device with C1-6 ultrasound probe) that are currently used in hospitals and approved for diagnostic imaging by the FDA. The ultrasound energies applied to the spleen in this study in COVID-19 patients will not exceed what is currently approved for diagnostic imaging with those GE ultrasound devices. There will be two groups in this study with 15 participants in each group. One group will receive ultrasound application to the spleen, in addition to the standard clinical care. A control group will receive standard clinical care without splenic ultrasound. Each ultrasound application session will last about 15-20 minutes per day for 7 days, unless the participant is discharged sooner. For ultrasound stimulation, a small gel-coated probe is positioned on the upper left abdomen area over the ribs. The ultrasound session includes a period of 5-10 minutes when study personnel use the ultrasound device to locate the spleen and to position the ultrasound probe in a proper location around the ribs area, and an approximately 10-minute period for application of ultrasound to the spleen. Collection of clinical outcome data and daily blood draws will be performed in each participant throughout the study. Additional data collected from each participant during their routine clinical care beyond their study involvement will also be analyzed together with the study data to evaluate the specific aims of the clinical trial.


Study information shown on this site is derived from ClinicalTrials.gov (a public registry operated by the National Institutes of Health). The listing of studies provided is not certain to be all studies for which you might be eligible. Furthermore, study eligibility requirements can be difficult to understand and may change over time, so it is wise to speak with your medical care provider and individual research study teams when making decisions related to participation.