Sensitivity and specificity of ultrasound for the diagnosis of acute pulmonary edema: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Yan Wang, Zhiyang Shen, Xuefeng Lu, Yanhua Zhen, Huixia Li


Aims: This study aimed to determine the sensitivity and specificity of ultrasound for the diagnosis of acute pulmonary edema by meta-analysis.

Materials and methods: A systematic search was conducted through the following databases: Cochrane, PubMed, EMBASE and Ovid MEDLINE. Prospective cohort and prospective case-control studies that reported sensitivity and specificity of lung ultrasound in diagnosis of acute pulmonary edema were selected. An independent review of citations was carried out for inclusion and data extraction. Quality assessment was conducted using the QUADAS-2 tool. Sensitivity and specificity were taken from the studied articles and then calculated with the contingency tables. A total of 984 articles were identified but only eight studies (1301 patients) were included in this meta-analysis. One study was a case-control study and seven studies were prospective cohort study.

Results: The overall sensitivity of ultrasound for the diagnosis of acute pulmonary edema is 97% (95% CI: 96%–98%) and the overall specificity was 98% (95% CI: 97%–99%).

Conclusion: The diagnostic test accuracy suggests that lung ultrasound using B-lines is a useful and reliable diagnostic tool for critically ill
patients with acute pulmonary edema.


acute pulmonary edema; diagnosis; dyspnea; lung; ultrasound

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