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Diagnostic accuracy of point-of-care ultrasound for paediatric testicular torsion: a systematic review and meta-analysis


Background Previous studies have examined the utility of ultrasonography performed by radiologists for diagnosing paediatric testicular torsion. While point-of-care ultrasound (POCUS) is used in paediatric emergency medicine, its diagnostic accuracy is still unknown.

Objectives The present systematic review and meta-analysis aimed to clarify the accuracy of POCUS in diagnosing testicular torsion in children.

Methods Following the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Review and Meta-analysis of Diagnostic Test Accuracy guidelines, a systematic review was performed using the indices of MEDLINE, EMBASE plus EMBASE classics, PubMed and the Cochrane database from inception to November 2020. Any study investigating the diagnostic accuracy of POCUS for paediatric testicular torsion was extracted. The primary outcome was the assessment of the diagnostic accuracy of POCUS for paediatric testicular torsion. The pooled sensitivity and specificity were calculated. Quality analysis was conducted using Quality Assessment of Diagnostic Accuracy Studies-2 (QUADAS-2).

Results Four studies enrolling 784 patients in total were included. The pooled sensitivity, specificity, and positive and negative likelihood ratios of POCUS were 98.4% (95% CI: 88.5% to 99.8%), 97.2% (95% CI: 87.2% to 99.4%), 34.7 (95% CI: 7.4 to 164.4) and 0.017 (95% CI: 0.002 to 0.12), respectively. Risk-of-bias assessment using QUADAS-2 revealed that two of the studies had a high risk of bias in patient selection.

Conclusion The present systematic review and meta-analysis showed that POCUS had high sensitivity and specificity for identifying testicular torsion in paediatric patients although the risk of bias was high in the studies analysed.

  • Ultrasonography
  • pediatric emergency medicine

Data availability statement

Data are available upon reasonable request.

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