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Application of ultrasound in the assessment of plantar fascia in patients with plantar fasciitis: a systematic reviewPlantar fasciitis (PFS) is one of the most common causes of heel pain, estimated to affect 10% of the general population during their lifetime. Ultrasound (US) imaging technique is increasingly being used to assess plantar fascia (PF) thickness, monitor the effect of different interventions and guide therapeutic interventions in patients with PFS. The purpose of the present study was to systematically review previously published studies concerning the application of US in the assessment of PF in patients with PFS. A literature search was performed for the period 2000-2012 using the Science Direct, Scopus, PubMed, CINAHL, Medline, Embase and Springer databases. The key words used were: ultrasound, sonography, imaging techniques, ultrasonography, interventional ultrasonography, plantar fascia and plantar fasciitis. The literature search yielded 34 relevant studies. Sixteen studies evaluated the effect of different interventions on PF thickness in patients with PFS using US; 12 studies compared PF thickness between patients with and without PFS using US; 6 studies investigated the application of US as a guide for therapeutic intervention in patients with PFS. There were variations among studies in terms of methodology used. The results indicated that US can be considered a reliable imaging technique for assessing PF thickness, monitoring the effect of different interventions and guiding therapeutic interventions in patients with PFS.
Is ultrasound screening for vasa praevia clinically justified and a financially viable screening test? A literature review.Vasa praevia is an obstetric complication currently not screened for within the United Kingdom, which if undetected prenatally can lead to fetal death when the membranes rupture. Internationally, guidelines are available providing guidance on the best screening policy and management pathways. However, the UK National Screening Committee and Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists do not support screening due to a lack of evidence. Recent studies explore the ability of ultrasound to detect vasa praevia prenatally in both the general and high-risk populations. Whilst there is no consensus on the ‘best’ screening strategy, the majority of authors note that targeted screening of the high-risk population is the most achievable and cost-effective strategy. Although not infallible, a standard screening protocol could identify the majority of cases in the high-risk group. Introduction of a screening strategy would affect training needs of professionals within the UK and would have implications on the need to produce guidelines on management and quality assurance. Further research is also needed to define a relevant high-risk population and explore how this would impact on service provision. This review explores the current evidence base for systematic screening and the implications for service.