Optic nerve sheath diameter measured sonographically as non-invasive estimator of intracranial pressure: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Chiara Robba, Gregorio Santori, Marek Czosnyka, Francesco Corradi, Nicola Bragazzi, Llewellyn Padayachy, Fabio Silvio Taccone, Giuseppe Citerio

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article


Purpose: Although invasive intracranial devices (IIDs) are the gold standard for intracranial pressure (ICP) measurement, ultrasonography of the optic nerve sheath diameter (ONSD) has been suggested as a potential non-invasive ICP estimator. We performed a meta-analysis to evaluate the diagnostic accuracy of sonographic ONSD measurement for assessment of intracranial hypertension (IH) in adult patients. Methods: We searched on electronic databases (MEDLINE/PubMed®, Scopus®, Web of Science®, ScienceDirect®, Cochrane Library®) until 31 May 2018 for comparative studies that evaluated the efficacy of sonographic ONSD vs. ICP measurement with IID. Data were extracted independently by two authors. We used the QUADAS-2 tool for assessing the risk of bias (RB) of each study. A diagnostic meta-analysis following the bivariate approach and random-effects model was performed. Results: Seven prospective studies (320 patients) were evaluated for IH detection (assumed with ICP > 20 mmHg or > 25 cmH2O). The accuracy of included studies ranged from 0.811 (95% CI 0.678‒0.847) to 0.954 (95% CI 0.853‒0.983). Three studies were at high RB. No significant heterogeneity was found for the diagnostic odds ratio (DOR), positive likelihood ratio (PLR) and negative likelihood ratio (NLR), with I2 < 50% for each parameter. The pooled DOR, PLR and NLR were 67.5 (95% CI 29‒135), 5.35 (95% CI 3.76‒7.53) and 0.088 (95% CI 0.046‒0.152), respectively. The area under the hierarchical summary receiver-operating characteristic curve (AUHSROC) was 0.938. In the subset of five studies (275 patients) with IH defined for ICP > 20 mmHg, the pooled DOR, PLR and NLR were 68.10 (95% CI 26.8‒144), 5.18 (95% CI 3.59‒7.37) and 0.087 (95% CI 0.041‒0.158), respectively, while the AUHSROC was 0.932. Conclusions: Although the wide 95% CI in our pooled DOR suggests caution, ultrasonographic ONSD may be a potentially useful approach for assessing IH when IIDs are not indicated or available (CRD42018089137, PROSPERO).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1284-1294
Number of pages11
JournalIntensive Care Medicine
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 1 2018


  • Adult patients
  • Intracranial pressure
  • Invasive intracranial devices
  • Meta-analysis
  • Optic nerve sheath diameter
  • Ultrasonography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine

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