Diagnostic accuracy and reproducibility of the Ottawa Knee Rule vs the Pittsburgh Decision Rule

Tung C Cheung, Yeliz Tank, Roelf S Breederveld, Wim E Tuinebreijer, Elly S M de Lange-de Klerk, Robert J Derksen
American Journal of Emergency Medicine 2013, 31 (4): 641-5

PURPOSE: The aim of this present study was to compare the diagnostic accuracy and reproducibility of 2 clinical decision rules (the Ottawa Knee Rules [OKR] and Pittsburgh Decision Rules [PDR]) developed for selective use of x-rays in the evaluation of isolated knee trauma. Application of a decision rule leads to a more efficient evaluation of knee injuries and a reduction in health care costs. The diagnostic accuracy and reproducibility are compared in this study.

METHODS: A cross-sectional interobserver study was conducted in the emergency department of an urban teaching hospital from October 2008 to July 2009. Two observer groups collected data on standardized case-report forms: emergency medicine residents and surgical residents. Standard knee radiographs were performed in each patient. Participants were patients 18 years and older with isolated knee injuries. Pooled sensitivity and specificity were compared using χ(2) statistics, and interobserver agreement was calculated by using κ statistics.

RESULTS: Ninety injuries were assessed. Seven injuries concerned fractures (7.8%). For the OKR, the pooled sensitivity and specificity were 0.86 (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.57-0.96) and 0.27 (95% CI, 0.21-0.35), respectively. The PDR had a pooled sensitivity and specificity of 0.86 (95% CI, 0.57-0.96) and 0.51 (95% CI, 0.44-0.59). The PDR was significantly (P = .002) more specific. The κ values for the OKR and PDR were 0.51 (95% CI, 0.32-0.71) and 0.71 (95% CI, 0.57-0.86), respectively.

CONCLUSION: The PDR was found to be more specific than the OKR, with equal sensitivity. Interobserver agreement was moderate for the OKR and substantial for the PDR.

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