The role of ultrasonography in the diagnosis of occult scaphoid fractures

Mohammed Ali1, Mujtaba Ali1, Ahmed Mohamed2, Syed Mannan1, Farshid Fallahi1

Affiliation and address for correspondence
J Ultrason 2018; 18: 325–331
DOI: 10.15557/JoU.2018.0047
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Background: Ultrasonography is widely utilized by emergency physicians and radiologists to diagnose various orthopaedic diseases, including fractures. We aim to derive a definitive estimate of the diagnostic accuracy of ultrasonography in clinically suspected scaphoid fractures. Methods: We undertook a systematic review and meta-analysis of included diagnostic cohort studies that discussed the use of ultrasonography in the diagnosis of occult scaphoid fractures. We searched the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence database using the Healthcare Databases Advanced Search tool. In addition, we utilized the PubMed database to search the Medical Literature Analysis and Retrieval System Online, Excerpta Medica database, Cumulative Index of Nursing and Allied Health and Allied and Complimentary Medicine databases. Studies were included if they discuss the role of ultrasound imaging in the diagnosis of scaphoid fractures based on cortical interruption, radio-carpal effusion and scapho-trapezium-trapezoid effusion. Quality assessment was performed using the methodological index for non-randomized studies scoring system. Results: 6 non-randomized control studies met the inclusion criteria. Collectively, these included 236 patients with a mean age ranging from 18 to 41.2 years. The quality of these articles ranged between moderate and high based on the methodological index for nonrandomized studies score. The mean sensitivity was 88.95% (standard deviation 10.03) and mean specificity was 89.50% (standard deviation 12.21). Conclusion: The current literature reveals high sensitivity and specificity in the use of ultrasonography in scaphoid fracture diagnosis. However, multiple factors including technical differences in ultrasound machines and probes, small sample sizes and variability of subsequent confirmatory tests have created a challenge in determining the ultimate reliability of ultrasonography in the diagnosis of occult scaphoid fractures. Considering these factors and limitations, large-sample and high-quality clinical trials are needed to adequately assess its reliability for this purpose. One stop clinics, in the authors’

ultrasound, scaphoid fracture, diagnosis, accuracy