Diagnostic Accuracy of 5 Dental Pulp Tests: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis

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Abstract

Introduction:

The aim of this systematic review was to investigate and compare the diagnostic accuracy including sensitivity, specificity, adjusted accuracy, adjusted positive predictive value (PPV), and adjusted negative predictive value (NPV) of cold pulp testing (CPT), heat pulp testing (HPT), electric pulp testing (EPT), laser Doppler flowmetry (LDF), and pulse oximetry (PO).

Methods:

Three electronic databases were searched from January 1964 to December 2016. True-positive, false-positive, true-negative, and false-negative values were extracted from data in each study. Sensitivity, specificity, adjusted accuracy, adjusted PPV, and adjusted NPV were calculated from those values, if not presented. A random effects model was used to calculate pooled estimates of sensitivity, specificity, adjusted accuracy, adjusted PPV, and adjusted NPV.

Results:

A total of 125 articles were identified, and 28 studies were included for the final review. The pooled estimates of sensitivity for CPT, EPT, HPT, LDF, and PO were 0.87, 0.72, 0.78, 0.98, and 0.97, respectively. Those of specificity were 0.84, 0.93, 0.67, 0.95, and 0.95, respectively. Those of adjusted accuracy were 0.84, 0.82, 0.72, 0.97, and 0.97, respectively. For adjusted PPV, they were 0.81, 0.89, 0.62, 0.94, and 0.94, respectively, and for adjusted NPV, they were 0.87, 0.80, 0.79, 1.00, and 0.99, respectively.

Conclusions:

LDF and PO were the most accurate diagnostic methods, and HPT was the least accurate diagnostic method. EPT showed high accuracy when testing vital teeth (specificity = 0.93) but low accuracy when assessing nonvital teeth (sensitivity = 0.72). CPT had moderate accuracy when evaluating vital (specificity = 0.84) and nonvital (sensitivity = 0.87) teeth.

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