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Medicine (Baltimore). 2019 Jul;98(30):e16360. doi: 10.1097/MD.0000000000016360.

Systematic review with network meta-analysis: Diagnostic values of ultrasonography, computed tomography, and magnetic resonance imaging in patients with ischemic stroke.

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Department of Ultrasound.
Department of Neurology, Huaihe Hospital of Henan University, Kaifeng, P. R. China.



Ischemic stroke is a foremost cause for disability and death worldwide. This study is conducted in order to compare the diagnostic values between transcranial Doppler ultrasound (ultrasonography), computed tomography (CT), and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in patients suffering from ischemic stroke by performing a network meta-analysis.


We made use of Cochrane Library, PubMed, and Embase in order to obtain literature and papers. The combination analysis of both direct and indirect evidence in terms of sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value (PPV), negative predictive value (NPV) and accuracy was conducted so as to assess the odds ratios (ORs) and surface under the cumulative ranking curve (SUCRA) values of the seven different imaging methods. These imaging techniques include ultrasonography, computed tomography (traditional CT, computed tomography angiography [CTA], computed tomography perfusion [CTP]), and MRI (traditional MRI, diffusion-weighted imaging [DWI], magnetic resonance angiography), in order to properly diagnose ischemic stroke patients.


Thirteen eligible diagnostic trials were enrolled into this network meta-analysis. The results of the traditional meta-analysis showed that among CT methods, CTP showed higher sensitivity, NPV, and accuracy; among MRI methods, DWI had relatively higher sensitivity, NPV, and accuracy. The results of network meta-analysis showed that DWI had relatively higher sensitivity, NPV, and accuracy when compared with traditional CT, CTA, magnetic resonance angiography and traditional MRI. CTP showed higher SUCRA among CT methods while DWI showed higher SUCRA among MRI methods. A cluster analysis revealed that DWI had the highest diagnostic value in terms of sensitivity, PPV, NPV, and accuracy amongst the aforementioned seven imaging techniques.


This network meta-analysis provides supporting evidence to the idea that DWI has a higher diagnostic value regarding ischemic stroke among MRI methods, and CTP has a poor diagnostic value among CT methods, which provide therapeutic considerations for Ischemic stroke intervention.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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