Ocular Point-of-Care Ultrasonography to Diagnose Posterior Chamber Abnormalities: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis

Steven L. Propst, Jonathan M. Kirschner, Christian C. Strachan, Steven K. Roumpf, Laura M. Menard, Elisa J. Sarmiento, Benton R. Hunter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Scopus citations


Importance: Diagnosing posterior chamber ocular abnormalities typically requires specialist assessment. Point-of-care ultrasonography (POCUS) performed by nonspecialists, if accurate, could negate the need for urgent ophthalmologist evaluation. Objective: This meta-analysis sought to define the diagnostic test characteristics of emergency practitioner-performed ocular POCUS to diagnose multiple posterior chamber abnormalities in adults. Data Sources: PubMed (OVID), MEDLINE, EMBASE, Cochrane, CINAHL, and SCOPUS were searched from inception through June 2019 without restrictions. Conference abstracts and trial registries were also searched. Bibliographies of included studies and relevant reviews were manually searched, and experts in the field were queried. Study Selection: Included studies compared ocular POCUS performed by emergency practitioners with a reference standard of ophthalmologist evaluation. Pediatric studies were excluded. All 116 studies identified during abstract screening as potentially relevant underwent full-text review by multiple authors, and 9 studies were included. Data Extraction and Synthesis: In accordance with PRISMA guidelines, multiple authors extracted data from included studies. Results were meta-analyzed for each diagnosis using a bivariate random-effects model. Data analysis was performed in July 2019. Main Outcomes and Measures: The outcomes of interest were diagnostic test characteristics of ocular POCUS for the following diagnoses: retinal detachment, vitreous hemorrhage, vitreous detachment, intraocular foreign body, globe rupture, and lens dislocation. Results: Nine studies (1189 eyes) were included. All studies evaluated retinal detachment, but up to 5 studies assessed each of the other diagnoses of interest. For retinal detachment, sensitivity was 0.94 (95% CI, 0.88-0.97) and specificity was 0.94 (95% CI, 0.85-0.98). Sensitivity and specificity were 0.90 (95% CI, 0.65-0.98) and 0.92 (95% CI, 0.75-0.98), respectively, for vitreous hemorrhage and were 0.67 (95% CI, 0.51-0.81) and 0.89 (95% CI, 0.53-0.98), respectively, for vitreous detachment. Sensitivity and specificity were high for lens dislocation (0.97 [95% CI, 0.83-0.99] and 0.99 [95% CI, 0.97-1.00]), intraocular foreign body (1.00 [95% CI, 0.81-1.00] and 0.99 [95% CI, 0.99-1.00]), and globe rupture (1.00 [95% CI, 0.63-1.00] and 0.99 [95% CI, 0.99-1.00]). Results were generally unchanged in sensitivity analyses of studies with low risk of bias. Conclusions and Relevance: This study suggests that emergency practitioner-performed ocular POCUS is an accurate test to assess for retinal detachment in adults. Its utility in diagnosing other posterior chamber abnormalities is promising but needs further study.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e1921460
JournalJAMA Network Open
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 5 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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