Clinical value of thoracic ultrasonography in the diagnosis of pulmonary embolism: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Wu Chen, Kun Xu, Yiying Li, Meifang Hao, Yongsheng Yang, Xiaofang Liu, Xiaochun Huang, Yuqin Huang, Qianjun Ye


Aims: The present study investigated and evaluated the accuracy of thoracic ultrasonography (TUS) in the diagnosis of pulmonary embolism (PE) by conducting a systematic review and meta-analysis.

Material and methods: The PubMed, Em-base and the Cochrane library databases were searched till March 2019 to retrieve relevant articles and the overall diagnostic accuracy of TUS in PE diagnosis was evaluated by meta-analysis.

Results: Overall, 16 studies including 1,916 patients were enrolled in this meta-analysis. Of these, 762 (39.8%) had confirmed PE. The overall sensitivity, specificity, and area under the ROC curve (AUC) of TUS for PE were 82% (95% confidence interval (CI), 72%–88%), 89% (95% CI, 79%–95%), and 0.91 (95% CI, 0.88–0.93), respectively. Other efficacy parameters assessed demonstrated a positive likelihood ratio (PLR) of (7.6; 95% CI, 4.0–14.5), negative likelihood ratio of (NLR) (0.21; 95% CI, 0.14–0.30), and diagnostic odds’ ratio (DOR) of (36.86; 95% CI, 21.41–63.48).

Conclusions: The current study suggested that although TUS cannot safely rule out PE, it is likely to be used as an aid or guidance to establish procedures and help to improve the diagnostic deficits in patients with PE.


thoracic ultrasonography; diagnosis; pulmonary embolism; meta-analysis

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