BMC Res Notes 2019 Apr 2;12(1):193. Epub 2019 Apr 2.
Department of Community Medicine, Faculty of Medicine and Allied Sciences, Rajarata University of Sri Lanka, Saliyapura, 50008, Sri Lanka.
Objective: This study was aimed at determining the diagnostic accuracy of the ultrasound characteristics in the identification of malignant thyroid nodules in patients attending the surgical clinic at a tertiary care hospital in Sri Lanka.
Results: This prospective validation study was conducted among 263 patients attending the surgical clinic at a tertiary care hospital, Sri Lanka. The ultrasound characteristics having statistically significant associations with thyroid malignancies were identified by employing a multivariable analysis. These ultrasound characteristics were compared with Fine Needle Aspiration Cytology results and indicators of diagnostic accuracy were computed. The study sample consisted of 33 malignant and 230 benign nodules. Internal vascularity, hypoechogenicity and microcalcification showed statistically significant positive associations with thyroid malignancy (p < 0.05). The highest positive likelihood ratio was observed for the presence of microcalcifications (10.4, 95% CI 4.6-23.7) with a specificity of 96.5% (95% CI 93.3-98.5%). Hypoechogenicity had a sensitivity of 66.7% (95% CI 48.2-82.0%) and a specificity of 74.8% (95% CI 68.6-80.3%). The presence of at least one positive ultrasound characteristic yielded the highest sensitivity (87.9%, 95% CI 71.8-96.6%), whereas, the presence of all three characteristics yielded a near perfect specificity (99.6%, 95% CI 97.6-99.9%). Hence, the presence of microcalcifications was found to be the single most useful criterion in predicting thyroid malignancy.