Accuracy of Point-of-Care Ultrasound in Detecting Fractures in Children: A Validation Study

Costantino Caroselli, Irene Raffaldi, Stefania Norbedo, Niccolò Parri, Francesca Poma, Michael Blaivas, Eleonora Zaccaria, Giovanni Dib, Romano Fiorentino, Daniele Longo, Paolo Biban, Antonio Francesco Urbino

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study sought to compare point-of-care ultrasound (POCUS) and conventional X-rays for detecting fractures in children. This was a prospective, non-randomized, convenience-sample study conducted in five medical centers. It evaluated pediatric patients with trauma. POCUS and X-ray examination results were treated as dichotomous variables with fracture either present or absent. Descriptive statistics were calculated in addition to prevalence, sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value and negative predictive value, including 95% confidence intervals (CIs). The Cohen κ coefficient was determined as a measurement of the level of agreement. A total of 554 examinations were performed with POCUS and X-ray. On physical examination, swelling, localized hematoma and functional limitation were found in 66.73%, 33.78% and 53.74% of participants, respectively. The most-studied areas were limbs and hands/feet (58.19% and 38.27%), whereas the thorax was less represented (3.54%). Sensitivity of POCUS was 91.67% (95% CI, 76.41–97.82%) for high-skill providers and 71.50 % (95% CI, 64.75–77.43%) for standard-skill providers. Specificity was 88.89% (95% CI, 73.00–96.34%) and 82.91% (95% CI, 77.82–87.06%) for high- and standard-skill providers, respectively. Positive predictive value was 89.19% (95% CI, 73.64–96.48%) and 75.90% (95% CI, 69.16–81.59%) for high- and standard-skill providers, respectively. Negative predictive value was 91.43% (95% CI, 75.81–97.76%) and 79.44% (95% CI, 74.21–83.87%) for high- and standard-skill providers, respectively. The Cohen κ coefficient showed very good agreement (0.81) for high-skill providers, but moderate agreement (0.54) for standard-skill providers. We noted good diagnostic accuracy of POCUS in evaluating fracture, with excellent sensitivity, specificity, and positive and negative predictive value for high-skill providers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)68-75
Number of pages8
JournalUltrasound in Medicine and Biology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2021


  • Fractures
  • Pediatric patients
  • Point-of-care ultrasound
  • Trauma
  • Ultrasound
  • X-rays

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics


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