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Rev Esp Enferm Dig. 2018 Dec 20. doi: 10.17235/reed.2018.5818/2018. [Epub ahead of print]

Meta-analysis of the diagnostic value of contrast-enhanced ultrasound for the detection of vascular complications after liver transplantation.

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Ultrasonic, Tianjin Baodi Hospital, China.
Tianjin Baodi Hospital.



contrast-enhanced ultrasound (CEUS) is increasingly used to identify vascular complications in patients after liver transplantation. The present study aimed to evaluate the diagnostic accuracy of CEUS using all available data.


relevant studies published before February 2018 were retrieved from PubMed, EMBASE, ScienceDirect and Web of Science. Pooled sensitivity and specificity, diagnostic odds ratio (DOR) and summary receiver operating characteristic curve (SROC) were calculated to estimate the diagnostic performance of CEUS for vascular complications. Sensitivity analysis was performed that stratified studies according to age, study design and sample size in order to determine the influence of these factors on the overall effect. Meta-regression analyses were performed to examine the possible sources of heterogeneity. Quality assessment and publication bias of the included studies were also evaluated.


thirteen studies which consisted of 2,781 CEUS cases were included in the analysis. The pooled weighted estimates of sensitivity and specificity were 0.90 (95% CI, 0.84 to 0.95) and 1.00 (95% CI, 1.00 to 1.00), the diagnostic odds ratio (DOR) was 431.96 (95% CI, 164.60 to 1,133.59) and the area under the curve (AUC) of SROC was 0.9741. According to the sensitivity analysis, age, study design and sample size had an insignificant influence on the diagnostic performance of CEUS. The meta-regression analyses did not reveal a strong correlation between CEUS accuracy and study design, treatment time of patients and experience of the radiologists.


the results of our meta-analysis showed a high sensitivity, specificity and accuracy of the CEUS modality for the identification of vascular complications in patients after liver transplantation. Since this is the first meta-analysis investigating in this aspect, more evidence is required to validate the clinical utility of CEUS for the identification of vascular complications in patients with a transplanted liver.

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