Classification systems for distal radius fractures
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Background and purpose - The reliability of conventional radiography when classifying distal radius fractures (DRF) is fair to moderate. We investigated whether reliability increases when additional computed tomography scans (CT) are used. Patients and methods - In this prospective study, we performed pre- and postreduction posterior-anterior and lateral radiographs of 51 patients presenting with a displaced DRF. The case was included when there was a (questionable) indication for surgical treatment and an additional CT was conducted within 5 days. 4 observers assessed the cases using the Frykman, Fernández, Universal, and AO classification systems. The first 2 assessments were performed using conventional radiography alone; the following 2 assessments were performed with an additional CT. We used the intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC) to evaluate reliability. The CT was used as a reference standard to determine the accuracy. Results - The intraobserver ICC for conventional radiography alone versus radiography and an additional CT was: Frykman 0.57 vs. 0.51; Fernández 0.53 vs. 0.66; Universal 0.57 vs. 0.64; AO 0.59 vs. 0.71. The interobserver ICC was: Frykman: 0.45 vs. 0.28; Fernández: 0.38 vs. 0.44; Universal: 0.32 vs. 0.43; AO: 0.46 vs. 0.40. Interpretation - The intraobserver reliability of the classification systems was fair but improved when an additional CT was used, except for the Frykman classification. The interobserver reliability ranged from poor to fair and did not improve when using an additional CT. Additional CT scanning has implications for the accuracy of scoring the fracture types, especially for simple fracture types.
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