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Comparison of Ultrasonography and Radiography in Detection of Thoracic Bone Fractures; a Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Mahmoud Yousefifard, Masoud Baikpour, Parisa Ghelichkhani, Hadi Asady, Abolfazl Darafarin, Mohammad Reza Amini Esfahani, Mostafa Hosseini, Mehdi Yaseri, Saeed Safari


Introduction: The potential benefit of ultrasonography for detection of thoracic bone fractures has been proven in various surveys but no comprehensive conclusion has been drawn yet; therefore, the present study aimed to conduct a thorough meta-analytic systematic review on this subject. Methods: Two reviewers independently carried out a comprehensive systematic search in Medline, EMBASE, ISI Web of Knowledge, Scopus, Cochrane Library, and ProQuest databases. Data were summarized as true positive, false positive, true negative and false negative and were analyzed via STATA 11.0 software using a mixed-effects binary regression model. Sources of heterogeneity were further assessed through subgroup analysis. Results: Data on 1667 patients (807 subjects with and 860 cases without thoracic fractures), whose age ranged from 0 to 92 years, were extracted from 17 surveys. Pooled sensitivity and specificity of ultrasonography in detection of thoracic bone fractures were 0.97 (95% CI: 0.90-0.99; I2= 88.88, p<0.001) and 0.94 (95% CI: 0.86-0.97; I2= 71.97, p<0.001), respectively. The same measures for chest radiography were found to be 0.77 (95% CI: 0.56-0.90; I2= 97.76, p<0.001) and 1.0 (95% CI: 0.91-1.00; I2= 97.24, p<0.001), respectively. The sensitivity of ultrasonography was higher in detection of rib fractures, compared to fractures of sternum or clavicle (97% vs. 91%). Moreover, the sensitivity was found to be higher when the procedure was carried out by a radiologist in comparison to an emergency medicine specialist (96% vs. 90%). Conclusion: Base on the findings of the present meta-analysis, screening performance characteristic of ultrasonography in detection of thoracic bone fractures was found to be higher than radiography. However, these characteristics were more prominent in detection of rib fractures and in cases where was performed by a radiologist.


Thoracic fractures; ultrasonography; radiography; diagnostic tests, routine


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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.22037/emergency.v4i2.9680

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