Consistency between physical medicine and rehabilitation specialists and a radiologist in interpretation of lumbosacral radiographs

Gulhane Military Medical Academy, Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Rehabilitation Hospital, Bilkent, Ankara, Turkey.
Journal of Back and Musculoskeletal Rehabilitation (Impact Factor: 0.71). 01/2011; 24(4):195-9. DOI: 10.3233/BMR-2011-0294
Source: PubMed


To investigate intra- and inter-observer reliability among physical medicine and rehabilitation specialists and a radiologist in interpretation of plain lumbar spine X-ray films in patients with low back pain.
Three assessors (A: a resident of PM&R, B: an experienced PM&R specialist, C: an experienced radiologist) read the standard lumbosacral plain radiographs of 79 patients with 2-3 month time interval. Each assessor recorded the presence or absence of abnormalities on the radiograph according to a standardized assessment form.
For assessors B and C, all kappa values were > 0.40. Transitional vertebrae abnormalities reached to the highest agreement ratio. The intrarater agreement showed higher kappas than the interrater agreement. The radiologists had the highest intrarater agreement, closely followed by the experienced PM&R specialist. Agreement among three assessors was substantial in sacralisation, lumbarisation and facet joint pathologies.
We usually obtained a good intrarater agreement, especially for the experienced PM&R specialist and the radiologist indicating that experience increases diagnostic consistency. Besides the systematic differences in radiographic interpretation between the assessors, institutional specific conditions (esp. patient profile and regularities) may cause the phycians to pay more attention to a specific group of pathologies.

6 Reads
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: An intraobserver and interobserver study on the reproducibility of data was performed. This study investigates the variability in the interpretation of lumbar spine radiographs by chiropractors working in private practice. In chiropractic practice radiographs are used often, but this use is currently under debate. Therefore, there is a need for further study of the value of diagnoses made by radiographs by chiropractors. An acceptable intra- and interobserver agreement in radiograph reading is a prerequisite for a useful application of radiographs as a diagnostic tool in daily practice and in research. Four chiropractors read 100 blinded sets of standard, erect anteroposterior and lateral lumbar radiographs independently. The same set was read in two separate sessions with a 2-month interval. The first session revealed the interobserver agreement. The comparison of the ratings by the same assessor in the two sessions indicated the intraobserver agreement. The assessors used a specially developed criteria list with emphasis on "nonspecific" radiographic findings. The prevalence of some important categories was increased artificially. Agreement was expressed in percentage agreement and generalized kappa, combining the results of all four assessors. Most kappas ranged from 0.40 to 0.75, representing fair to good agreement. In general, intraobserver agreement was better than interobserver agreement. The low kappas that were found may be explained partially by the high-agreement-low-kappa paradox as a result of a low prevalence. The kappas and percentage agreement were acceptable, although not excellent. These results will be beneficial for future research on the value of radiograph diagnosis of nonspecific findings for delivery of safe and effective chiropractic therapy.
    Spine 07/1997; 22(11):1235-41. DOI:10.1097/00007632-199706010-00013 · 2.30 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Degenerative disc disease (DDD) is a common finding in MRI scans and X-rays. However, their correlation to morphological and biochemical changes is not well established. In this study, radiological and MRI parameters of DDD were assessed and compared with morphological and biochemical findings of disc degeneration. Thirty-nine human lumbar discs (L1-S1), age 19-86 years, were harvested from eight cadavers. Within 48 h postmortem, MRIs in various spin-echo sequences and biplanar radiographs of intact spines were obtained. Individual discs with endplates were then sectioned in the mid-sagittal plane and graded according to the morphological appearance. Samples from the nucleus of each disc were harvested for biochemical analysis including water and proteoglycan contents. On MRIs, T2-signal intensity, Modic changes, disc extension beyond the interspace (DEBIT), nucleus pulposus shape, annular tears, osteophytes and endplate integrity were graded. On radiographs, an independent observer classified the parameters disc height, endplate sclerosis, osteophytes, Schmorl's nodes, intradiscal calcifications and endplate shape. General linear-regression models were used for statistical analysis. Backward elimination with a 10% significance cut-off level was used to identify the most significant parameters, which then were summed to create composite scores for radiography, MRI and the combination of both methods. The grading was performed by three observers, and a reliability analysis using Cronbach's alpha model was used to control interobserver agreement. The three radiographic parameters height-loss, osteophytes and intradiscal calcifications correlated significantly with the morphological degree of degeneration (p<0.001, R2=642). Significant differences of even one morphological grade could also be differentiated in the composite radiological score (p<0.05), except at the extremes between grades 1 and 2 and grades 4 and 5. All MRI parameters correlated significantly with the morphological grade (p<0.05); however Modic changes, T2-intensity and osteophytes accounted for 83% of the variation in the data. T2-signal intensity correlated significantly with H2O and proteoglycan content (p<0.001), and was best for detecting highly degenerated discs. Regression showed that the combined score was better correlated with the morphological grade (p<0.001, R2=775) than either the composite radiographic (p<0.001, R2=642) or composite MRI (p<0.001, R2=696) alone. Based on the combined score, a backwards elimination of the regression was performed, in which the parameters Modic changes, and T2-intensity loss (MRI) as well as calcifications (X-ray) accounted for 87% of the variability. The interobserver validation showed a high correlation for all three scores (Cronbach's alpha values ranging from 0.95 to 0.97). Conclusion: Selective imaging parameters and a newly created scoring scheme were found to correlate with disc degeneration as determined in a morphological manner. Surprisingly, radiographic parameters were able to distinguish different stages of degeneration, whereas MRI could only detect advanced stages of disc degeneration. We conclude that X-rays may remain a cost-effective, non-invasive in vivo-grading method to detect early disc degeneration, and, combined with MRI, correlate best with morphological and biochemical assessment of disc degeneration.
    European Spine Journal 03/2005; 14(1):27-35. DOI:10.1007/s00586-004-0759-4 · 2.07 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: To develop evidence-based diagnostic imaging practice guidelines to assist chiropractors and other primary care providers in decision making for the appropriate use of diagnostic imaging for spinal disorders. A comprehensive search of the English and French language literature was conducted using a combination of subject headings and keywords. The quality of the citations was assessed using the Quality of diagnostic accuracy studies (QUADAS), the Appraisal of Guidelines Research and Evaluation (AGREE), and the Stroke Prevention and Educational Awareness Diffusion (SPREAD) evaluation tools. The Referral Guidelines for Imaging (radiation protection 118) coordinated by the European Commission served as the initial template. The first draft was sent for an external review. A Delphi panel composed of international experts on the topic of musculoskeletal disorders in chiropractic radiology, clinical sciences, and research were invited to review and propose recommendations on the indications for diagnostic imaging. The guidelines were pilot tested and peer reviewed by practicing chiropractors, and by chiropractic and medical specialists. Recommendations were graded according to the strength of the evidence. Recommendations for diagnostic imaging guidelines of adult spine disorders are provided, supported by more than 385 primary and secondary citations. The overall quality of available literature is low, however. On average, 45 Delphi panelists completed 1 of 2 rounds, reaching more than 85% agreement on all 55 recommendations. Peer review by specialists reflected high levels of agreement, perceived ease of use of guidelines, and implementation feasibility. Dissemination and implementation strategies are discussed. The guidelines are intended to be used in conjunction with sound clinical judgment and experience and should be updated regularly. Future research is needed to validate their content.
    Journal of manipulative and physiological therapeutics 02/2008; 31(1):33-88. DOI:10.1016/j.jmpt.2007.11.003 · 1.48 Impact Factor