The role of ultrasonography in the imaging of body packers comparison with CT: a prospective study

Cengel F., Bulakci M., Selcuk T., Savas Y., Ceyhan M., Kocak A., ...More

Abdominal Imaging, vol.40, no.7, pp.2143-2151, 2015 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 40 Issue: 7
  • Publication Date: 2015
  • Doi Number: 10.1007/s00261-015-0430-z
  • Journal Name: Abdominal Imaging
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.2143-2151
  • Keywords: Abdominal ultrasound, Body packing, Computed tomography, Drug smuggling
  • Istanbul Gelisim University Affiliated: No


© 2015, Springer Science+Business Media New York.Purpose: This study investigated the sonographic properties of drug packets containing narcotic drugs and the diagnostic role of ultrasonography in detecting body packing in comparison with CT. Methods: Forty-five suspects admitted to our hospital for diagnosis and management were routinely evaluated by non-contrast CT for the presence of drug packets. A single radiologist blind to CT data independently performed the abdominal ultrasonographic scans. Results: Thirty-five of 45 suspects were carrying packets. In positive cases, two types of packets with different properties were noted. Twenty-eight cases had type 1 packets (solid form drug) and 7 had type 2 packets (liquid form cocaine). The sensitivity, specificity, positive, and negative predictive values of ultrasonography for detecting drug packets were 91%, 70%, 91%, and 70%, respectively. Ultrasonography accurately determined the presence or absence of packs in 39 of 45 suspects. Conclusion: Ultrasonography was found to have a high sensitivity but a low specificity in suspected cases. A negative ultrasonography cannot rule out the diagnosis of body packing. However, it may be preferred as the initial imaging method or for follow-up of suspected cases as a radiation-free, easy-to-use, and inexpensive technique.