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Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 1991 Jun;16(6):605-7.

Identifying patients at risk of becoming disabled because of low-back pain. The Vermont Rehabilitation Engineering Center predictive model.

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School of Business Administration, McClure Musculoskeletal Research Center, University of Vermont, Burlington.


A predictive risk model of low-back pain (LBP) disability was developed by a panel of six experts in the fields of chronic pain and disability. It comprised 28 factors organized into eight categories: job, psychosocial, injury, diagnostic, demographic, medical history, health behaviors, and anthropometric characteristics and was administered as a 15-minute written questionnaire. The model was tested prospectively on 250 patients (age range, 18-65 years) attending two secondary-care low-back clinics. Disability, as predicted by the model, was compared with 1) actual disability assessed 3 and 6 months later; 2) predictions of disability made by the attending physicians; and 3) predictions obtained from an empirically derived model. These results showed that 1) the expert-generated risk model had a predictive accuracy of 89% and did better in predicting disability than the physicians across all samples and 2) the empirically weighted model did best of all (91% predictive accuracy), suggesting that the expert model used appropriate factors but that the weights assigned to these factors by the panel of experts could be improved.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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