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Acta Orthop Scand. 2002 Oct;73(5):523-30.

Inter-observer reliability of radiographic classifications and measurements in the assessment of Perthes' disease.

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Department of Orthopaedics, Aust-Agder Hospital, Arendal, Norway.


We evaluated the inter-observer agreement of radiographic methods when evaluating patients with Perthes' disease. The radiographs were assessed at the time of diagnosis and at the 1-year follow-up by local orthopaedic surgeons (O) and 2 experienced pediatric orthopedic surgeons (TT and SS). The Catterall, Salter-Thompson, and Herring lateral pillar classifications were compared, and the femoral head coverage (FHC), center-edge angle (CE-angle), and articulo-trochanteric distance (ATD) were measured in the affected and normal hips. On the primary evaluation, the lateral pillar and Salter-Thompson classifications had a higher level of agreement among the observers than the Catterall classification, but none of the classifications showed good agreement (weighted kappa values between O and SS 0.56, 0.54, 0.49, respectively). Combining Catterall groups 1 and 2 into one group, and groups 3 and 4 into another resulted in better agreement (kappa 0.55) than with the original 4-group system. The agreement was also better (kappa 0.62-0.70) between experienced than between less experienced examiners for all classifications. The femoral head coverage was a more reliable and accurate measure than the CE-angle for quantifying the acetabular covering of the femoral head, as indicated by higher intraclass correlation coefficients (ICC) and smaller inter-observer differences. The ATD showed good agreement in all comparisons and had low interobserver differences. We conclude that all classifications of femoral head involvement are adequate in clinical work if the radiographic assessment is done by experienced examiners. When they are less experienced examiners, a 2-group classification or the lateral pillar classification is more reliable. For evaluation of containment of the femoral head, FHC is more appropriate than the CE-angle.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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