Fractures of the thoracic spine in patients with minor trauma: Comparison of diagnostic accuracy and dose of biplane radiography and MDCT.

By London Spine
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Fractures of the thoracic spine in patients with minor trauma: Comparison of diagnostic accuracy and dose of biplane radiography and MDCT.

Eur J Radiol. 2013 Feb 17;

Authors: Karul M, Bannas P, Schoennagel BP, Hoffmann A, Wedegaertner U, Adam G, Yamamura J

Abstract
OBJECTIVES: To investigate the accuracy of biplane radiography in the detection of fractures of the thoracic spine in patients with minor trauma using multidetector computed tomography (MDCT) as the reference and to compare the dose of both techniques. METHODS: 107 consecutive trauma patients with suspected fractures of the thoracic spine on physical examination were included. All had undergone biplane radiography first, followed by a MDCT scan between October 2008 and October 2012. A fourfold table was used for the classification of the screening test results. Both the Chi-square test (χ(2)) and the mean dose-length product (DLP) were used to compare the diagnostic methods. RESULTS: MDCT revealed 77 fractures in 65/107 patients (60.7%). Biplane radiography was true positive in 32/107 patients (29.9%), false positive in 19/107 patients (17.8%), true negative in 23/107 (21.5%) and false negative in 33/107 patients (30.8%), showing a sensitivity of 49.2%, a specificity of 54.7%, a positive predictive value (PPV) of 62.7%, a negative predictive value (NPV) of 41.1%, and an accuracy of 51.4%. The presence of a fracture on biplane radiography was highly statistical significant, if this was simultaneously proven by MDCT (χ(2)=7.6; p=0.01). None of the fractures missed on biplane radiography was unstable. The mean DLP on biplane radiography was 14.5mGycm (range 1.9-97.8) and on MDCT 374.6mGycm (range 80.2-871). CONCLUSIONS: The sensitivity and the specificity of biplane radiography in the diagnosis of fractures of the thoracic spine in patients with minor trauma are low. Considering the wide availability of MDCT that is usually necessary for taking significant therapeutic steps, the indication for biplane radiography should be very restrictive.

PMID: 23422283 [PubMed – as supplied by publisher]