Reproducibility of the Gartland classification for supracondylar humeral fractures in children

J Heal, M Bould, J Livingstone, N Blewitt, A W Blom
Journal of Orthopaedic Surgery 2007, 15 (1): 12-4

PURPOSE: To evaluate the intra- and inter-observer reproducibility of the Gartland radiographic classification for supracondylar humeral fractures in children.

METHODS: Anteroposterior and lateral radiographs of 50 supracondylar humeral fractures in children were graded on 2 separate occasions by 4 orthopaedic surgeons according to the Wilkins modification of the Gartland classification. Data were analysed by calculating the Kappa values for intra- and inter-observer agreement to indicate the reproducibility of the classification.

RESULTS: There was moderate inter-observer agreement, except for poor agreement over type I fractures. Type II fractures only showed fair to moderate agreement. Type III fractures and the flexion group showed good to very good agreement. Intra-observer agreement was good to very good.

CONCLUSION: Surgeons should treat paediatric supracondylar humeral fractures based on an assessment of the degree of displacement rather than by employing the Gartland classification.

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