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2021 Apr 17

Healthcare (Basel)



Pre-Procedural Lumbar Neuraxial Ultrasound-A Systematic Review of Randomized Controlled Trials and Meta-Analysis.


Sidiropoulou T, Christodoulaki K, Siristatidis C
Healthcare (Basel). 2021 Apr 17; 9(4).
PMID: 33920621.


A pre-procedural ultrasound of the lumbar spine is frequently used to facilitate neuraxial procedures. The aim of this review is to examine the evidence sustaining the utilization of pre-procedural neuraxial ultrasound compared to conventional methods. We perform a systematic review of randomized controlled trials with meta-analyses. We search the electronic databases Medline, Cochrane Central, Science Direct and Scopus up to 1 June 2019. We include trials comparing a pre-procedural lumbar spine ultrasound to a non-ultrasound-assisted method. The primary endpoints are technical failure rate, first-attempt success rate, number of needle redirections and procedure time. We retrieve 32 trials (3439 patients) comparing pre-procedural lumbar ultrasounds to palpations for neuraxial procedures in various clinical settings. Pre-procedural ultrasounds decrease the overall risk of technical failure (Risk Ratio (RR) 0.69 (99% CI, 0.43 to 1.10), = 0.04) but not in obese and difficult spinal patients (RR 0.53, = 0.06) and increase the first-attempt success rate (RR 1.5 (99% CI, 1.22 to 1.86), < 0.0001, NNT = 5). In difficult spines and obese patients, the RR is 1.84 (99% CI, 1.44 to 2.3; < 0.0001, NNT = 3). The number of needle redirections is lower with pre-procedural ultrasounds (SMD = -0.55 (99% CI, -0.81 to -0.29), < 0.0001), as is the case in difficult spines and obese patients (SMD = -0.85 (99% CI, -1.08 to -0.61), < 0.0001). No differences are observed in procedural times. Ιn conclusion, a pre-procedural ultrasound provides significant benefit in terms of technical failure, number of needle redirections and first attempt-success rate. Τhe effect of pre-procedural ultrasound scanning of the lumbar spine is more significant in a subgroup analysis of difficult spines and obese patients.