Diagnostic accuracy of history taking and physical examination for assessing anterior cruciate ligament lesions of the knee in primary care
Abstract OBJECTIVE: To assess the diagnostic accuracy of history taking and physical examination for assessing anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) lesions in primary care. DESIGN: Cross-sectional diagnostic study. SETTING: Primary care. PARTICIPANTS: Patients (N=134; age, 18-65y) who consulted their general practitioner (GP) within 5 weeks after injury. INTERVENTIONS: Not applicable. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Index tests were obtained with a questionnaire and physical examination. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) was used as the reference test. Logistic regression analysis was used to determine associations with ACL lesions. Diagnostic accuracy was determined by calculating sensitivity (Se), specificity (Sp), predictive values, and likelihood ratio (LR). RESULTS: MRI showed an ACL lesion in 28 of 134 included patients. "Effusion," "popping sensation," "giving way," and "anterior drawer test (ADT)" showed associations with an ACL lesion (P<.05). Popping sensation showed Se, Sp, positive predictive value (PPV), and positive LR (LR(+)) of .63, .73, .39, and 2.3, respectively. Combining determinants from history taking (2 of 3 positive results regarding effusion, popping sensation, and giving way) improved diagnostic accuracy (Se, .71; Sp, .71; PPV, .42; and LR(+), 2.5). The ADT added diagnostic accuracy to these combinations (Se, .63; Sp, .85; PPV, .52; and LR(+), 4.2). CONCLUSIONS: ACL lesions are seen frequently. Based on history taking (effusion, popping sensation, and/or giving way) and physical examination (ADT), GPs can screen for ACL lesions in primary care.