Hand-Held Ultrasound Devices Compared with High-End Ultrasound Systems: A Systematic Review

Research output: Contribution to journalReviewResearchpeer-review


The aim of this study was to review the scientific literature available on the comparison of hand-held ultrasound devices with high-end systems for abdominal and pleural applications. PubMed, Embase, Web of Science and Cochrane were searched following Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines. Original research describing hand-held ultrasound devices compared with high-end systems was included and assessed using Quality Assessment of Diagnostic Accuracy Studies (QUADAS)-2. The search was limited to articles published since 1 January 2012. A total of 2486 articles were found and screened by title and abstract. A total of 16 articles were chosen for final review. All of the included articles showed good overall agreement between hand-held and high-end ultrasound systems. Strong correlations were found when evaluating ascites, hydronephrosis, pleural cavities, in detection of abdominal aortic aneurysms and for use with obstetric and gynaecological patients. Other articles found good agreement for cholelithiasis and for determining the best site for paracentesis. QUADAS-2 analysis suggested few risks of bias and almost no concerns regarding applicability. For distinct clinical questions, hand-held devices may be a valuable supplement to physical examination. However, evidence is inadequate, and more research is needed on the abdominal and pleural use of hand-held ultrasound with more standardised comparisons, using only blinded reviewers.

Original languageEnglish
Article number61
Issue number2
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - 2019

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