Send to

Choose Destination
Injury. 2010 Aug;41(8):862-8. doi: 10.1016/j.injury.2010.04.020. Epub 2010 May 13.

Accuracy of clinician-performed point-of-care ultrasound for the diagnosis of fractures in children and young adults.

Author information

Division of Paediatric Emergency Medicine, Department of Paediatrics and Emergency Medicine, Bellevue Hospital Centre/NYU School of Medicine, New York, NY, USA.



Injury is a major cause of death and disability in children and young adults worldwide. X-rays are routinely performed to evaluate injuries with suspected fractures. However, the World Health Organisation estimates that up to 75% of the world population has no access to any diagnostic imaging services. Use of clinician-performed point-of-care ultrasound to diagnose fractures is not only feasible in traditional healthcare settings, but also in underserved or remote settings. Our objective was to determine the accuracy of clinician-performed point-of-care ultrasound for the diagnosis of fractures in children and young adults presenting to an acute care setting.


We conducted a prospective cohort study of patients aged <25 years that presented to emergency departments with injuries requiring X-rays or CT for suspected fracture. Paediatric emergency physicians with a 1h training session diagnosed fractures by point-of-care ultrasound. X-rays or CT were used as the reference standard to determine test performance characteristics.


Point-of-care ultrasound was performed on 212 children and young adults with 348 suspected fractures. Forty-two percent of all bones imaged were non-long bones. The prevalence rate of fracture was 24%. Overall: sensitivity-73% (95% CI: 62-82%), specificity-92% (95% CI: 88-95%); long bones: sensitivity-73% (58-84%), specificity-92% (86-95%); non-long bones: sensitivity-77% (58-90%); specificity-93% (87-97%); age> or =18 years: sensitivity-60% (39-78%), specificity-92% (87-96%); age<18: sensitivity-78 (65-87%), specificity-93% (87-95)%. Majority of errors in diagnosis (>85%) occurred at the ends-of-bones.


Clinicians with focused ultrasound training were able to diagnose fractures using point-of-care ultrasound with a high specificity rate. Specificity rates to rule-in fracture were similar for non-long bone and long bone fractures, as well as in skeletally mature young adults and children with open growth plates. Clinician-performed point-of-care ultrasound accuracy was highest at the diaphyses of long bones, while most diagnostic errors were committed at the ends-of-bones or near joints. Point-of-care ultrasound may serve as a rapid alternative means to diagnose midshaft fractures in settings with limited or no access to X-ray.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center