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Reliability of the Single-Arm and Double-Arm Jobe Test for the Diagnosis of Full-Thickness Supraspinatus Tendon Tear.

BACKGROUND: The Jobe test is commonly used to diagnose full-thickness (FT) supraspinatus (SSP) tendon tear. The original Jobe test used single-arm testing, although the double-arm Jobe test has also been used in clinical practice.

PURPOSE: To evaluate the reliability, accuracy, and diagnostic value of the single-arm and double-arm Jobe test for diagnosis of FT SSP tear.

STUDY DESIGN: Cohort study (diagnosis); Level of evidence, 2.

METHODS: Patients with shoulder pain requiring magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the shoulder between March 1, 2021, and March 31, 2022, were enrolled. Each patient underwent both single-arm and double-arm Jobe tests by 2 orthopaedic surgeons independently, and the presence of pain, weakness, or both during the test was documented. Diagnosis of FT SSP tear on MRI scan was used as the gold standard to compare the diagnostic value of the Jobe test. The interrater reliability of the Jobe test, and the inter- and intrarater reliability of the MRI evaluation (patients with vs without FT SSP tear) was performed using the kappa (κ) coefficient.

RESULTS: A total of 80 patients (57 females [71%]; mean age, 61.46 ± 9.61 years) were included. MRI scans revealed FT SSP tears in 32 (40%) of the patients. Both single- and double-arm Jobe tests had low diagnostic values (accuracy, 46.25% to 60%; sensitivity, 46.9% to 84.4%; specificity, 25% to 66.7%). The single-arm test with weakness revealed the highest sensitivity (84.4%). The double-arm test with weakness plus pain revealed the highest specificity (66.7%). Double-arm testing with pain had the highest accuracy (60%), with the highest positive likelihood ratio (1.5). The interrater reliability of the Jobe test indicated substantial agreement (double-arm vs single-arm, κ = 0.771 and 0.716, respectively, agreement 85%; P < .05). The interrater reliability of MRI scan evaluation of the FT SSP tear indicated substantial agreement (κ = 0.750, agreement 85%; P < .05), while the intrarater reliability indicated almost perfect agreement (κ = 0.917, agreement 96%; P < .05).

CONCLUSION: The Jobe test, either single- or double-arm, had low accuracy and diagnostic value in diagnosing FT SSP tear. The concern with a single-arm examination for weakness is that it may be an inappropriate diagnostic test for ruling out FT SSP with 84% sensitivity, while a double-arm examination provides a higher specificity.

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