Surgical applications of ultrasound use in low- and middle-income countries: A systematic review

Sergio M. Navarro, Hashim Shaikh, Hodan Abdi, Evan J. Keil, Simisola Odusanya, Kelsey A. Stewart, Eugene Tuyishime, Dennis Mazingi, Todd M. Tuttle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background: Ultrasound is a portable technology able to deploy health care effectively in low resource settings. This study presents a systematic review to determine trends in the utility and applicability of this technology in low- and middle-income countries (LMIC), specifically for surgical applications. The review includes characterising and evaluating trends in the geographic and specialty-specific use of ultrasound pertaining to surgical disease. Methods: The databases such as Medline OVID, EMBASE and Cochrane were searched from 2010 through March 2019 for studies available in English, French and Spanish. Commentaries, opinion articles, reviews and book chapters were excluded. A categorical analysis of ultrasound use for surgical disease in LMICs was conducted. Results: A total of 6276 articles were identified, with 4563 studies included for the final review. A total of 221 studies were selected researching ultrasound use in LMICs to treat surgical disease. Most studies identified ultrasound usage focused on general surgery, acute care surgery and surgical ICU topics (52%, 115) followed by computed tomography surgery studies (20%, 44). Most studies were retrospective in nature, with 81% (180) of research studies generated in four countries (India, Pakistan, Nigeria and Egypt). Ultrasound proved to be a feasible technique for utility in pre-operative diagnosis, cost-effectiveness and prediction of surgical outcomes. Findings are limited by the limited number of randomised clinical trials reported. Conclusion and global health implications: Our systematic literature review of ultrasound use in LMICs demonstrates the growing utilisation of this relatively low-cost, portable imaging technology in low resource settings for surgical disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)80-97
Number of pages18
JournalAustralasian Journal of Ultrasound in Medicine
Issue number2
StateAccepted/In press - Jun 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Australasian Society for Ultrasound in Medicine.


  • LMICs
  • surgery
  • systematic review
  • ultrasound

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article


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