Context.— Postmenopausal vaginal bleeding is a common clinical problem. Endovaginal
ultrasound (EVUS) is a noninvasive diagnostic test that may help determine
which women should undergo endometrial biopsy.
Objective.— To determine the accuracy of EVUS in detecting endometrial disease in
postmenopausal women with vaginal bleeding according to hormone replacement
Data Sources.— Literature search of English-language and non–English-language
articles published from 1966 through November 1996 using MEDLINE and by a
manual search of bibliographies of published articles.
Study Selection.— Studies were included if they prospectively collected EVUS measurements
of endometrial thickness prior to obtaining endometrial tissue for histologic
evaluation in postmenopausal women with vaginal bleeding. Of 85 studies that
included data on EVUS and endometrial histology, 35 were included in the meta-analysis
and included 5892 women.
Data Extraction.— Articles were reviewed and independently selected and abstracted by
2 reviewers. Disagreement was resolved by consensus.
Data Synthesis.— The overall summary mean weighted estimates of sensitivity and specificity
were calculated for thresholds of endometrial thickness from 3 to 10 mm. Using
a 5-mm threshold to define abnormal endometrial thickening, 96% (95% confidence
interval [CI], 94%-98%) of women with cancer had an abnormal EVUS result,
whereas 92% (95% CI, 90%-93%) of women with endometrial disease (cancer, polyp,
or atypical hyperplasia) had an abnormal result. This did not vary by hormone
replacement use. However, the number of women with normal histology who had
an abnormal EVUS result did vary by hormone replacement use. In women who
were not using hormone replacement therapy, 593 (8%) with normal histological
findings had an abnormal EVUS result (specificity, 92%; 95% CI, 90%-94%),
whereas 1544 (23%) using hormone replacement therapy had an abnormal EVUS
result (specificity, 77%; 95% CI, 75%-79%). For a postmenopausal woman with
vaginal bleeding with a 10% pretest probability of endometrial cancer, her
probability of cancer is 1% following a normal EVUS result.
Conclusion.— Endovaginal ultrasound has a high sensitivity for detecting endometrial
cancer and other endometrial disease and can reliably identify postmenopausal
women with vaginal bleeding who are highly unlikely to have significant endometrial
disease so that endometrial sampling may be unnecessary.