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Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2010 May 1;35(10):1061-71. doi: 10.1097/BRS.0b013e3181bcc835.

A meta-analysis of the clinical effectiveness of school scoliosis screening.

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  • 1Department of Nursing Studies, The University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR, China.

Abstract

STUDY DESIGN:

A meta-analysis that systematically reviewed the evaluation studies of a scoliosis screening program reported in the literature.

OBJECTIVE:

To evaluate the best current evidence on the clinical effectiveness of school screening for adolescent idiopathic scoliosis.

SUMMARY OF BACKGROUND DATA:

The use of school scoliosis screening is controversial, and its clinical effectiveness has been diversely reported.

METHODS:

Data sources included 3 databases, namely, PubMed, Google scholar, CINAHL database, and the references from identified reviews and studies. Studies were included if: (1) they adopted a retrospective cohort design; (2) were screened using either the forward bending test (FBT), angle of trunk rotation, or Moiré topography; (3) reported results of screening tests and radiographic assessments; (4) screened adolescents only; (5) reported the incidence of curves with a minimum Cobb angle of 10 degrees or greater; and (6) reported the number of referrals for radiography. Reviews, comments, case studies, and editorials were excluded.

RESULTS:

Thirty-six studies, including 34 from the 775 initially identified studies and 2 from the references, met the selection criteria. The pooled referral rate for radiography was 5.0%, and the pooled positive predictive values for detecting curves > or =10 degrees , curves > or =20 degrees , and treatment were 28.0%, 5.6%, and 2.6%, respectively. There was substantial heterogeneity across studies. Meta-regression showed that programs using the FBT alone reported a higher referral rate (odds ratio [OR] = 2.91) and lower positive predictive values for curves > or =10 degrees (OR = 0.49) and curves > or =20 degrees (OR = 0.34) than programs using other tests. Only one small study followed students until skeletal maturity and reported the sensitivity of screening; however, the specificity was not reported. No severe publication bias was noted.

CONCLUSION:

The use of the FBT alone in school scoliosis screening is insufficient. We need large, retrospective cohort studies with sufficient follow-up to properly assess the clinical effectiveness of school scoliosis screening.

PMID:
20393399
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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