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J Man Manip Ther. 2010 Dec;18(4):175-80. doi: 10.1179/106698110X12804993427045.

Clustered clinical findings for diagnosis of cervical spine myelopathy.

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Walsh University, North Canton, OH, USA.


Cervical spine myelopathy (CSM) is a clinical diagnosis made with imaging confirmation. At present, most clinical tests used to identify CSM are specific and no clusters of tests have proven more beneficial than stand alone tests in guiding treatment decision making. This study endeavored to produce a cluster of predictive clinical findings for a sample of patients using a clinical diagnosis/imaging confirmation as the reference standard for cervical spine myelopathy. Data from 249 patients with various conditions associated with cervical spine dysfunction were analyzed to determine which clinical tests and measures, when clustered together, were most diagnostic for CSM. Using multivariate regression analyses and calculations for sensitivity, specificity, and positive and negative likelihood ratios, a definitive cluster was identified. Thirteen clinical findings were investigated for capacity to diagnosis CSM. Five clinical: (1) gait deviation; (2) +Hoffmann's test; (3) inverted supinator sign; (4) +Babinski test; and (5) age >45 years, were demonstrated the capacity when clustered into one of five positive tests to rule out CSM (negative likelihood ratio = 0.18; 95% CI = 0.12-0.42), and when clustered into three of five positive findings to rule in CSM (positive likelihood ratio = 30.9; 95% CI = 5.5-181.8). This study found clustered combinations of clinical findings that could rule in and rule out CSM. These clusters may be useful in identifying patients with this complex diagnosis in similar patient populations.


Cervical spine myelopathy; Clinical prediction rule; Diagnostic accuracy; Sensitivity; Specificity

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