OBJECTIVES: Ultrasound assessments of patients with chronic midportion Achilles tendinopathy include determining the degree of neovascularization using Doppler flow. A frequently used measure to quantify neovascularization is the modified Öhberg score. It is unknown whether the semiquantitative modified Öhberg score (0-4+) has higher reliability than a quantified measure of Doppler flow (0-100%). The purpose of this cross-sectional study was to evaluate the interobserver reliability of the modified Öhberg score and a surface area quantification (SAQ) method for Doppler flow in patients with chronic midportion Achilles tendinopathy. METHODS: Two observers examined the degree of Doppler flow independently using SAQ and the modified Öhberg score during a single consultation. The intraclass correlation coefficient, standard error of measurement, and minimal detectable difference were determined to evaluate the reliability and measurement properties of the SAQ method and the modified Öhberg score. RESULTS: In total, 28 consecutive patients with chronic midportion Achilles tendinopathy participated. The intraclass correlation coefficient for interobserver reliability of the SAQ method was 0.81 (95% confidence interval, 0.58-0.91), compared to 0.64 (95% confidence interval, 0.45-0.81) for the modified Öhberg score. The standard error of measurement and minimal detectable difference values for the SAQ method were 2.9% and 8.0%, respectively, and for the modified Öhberg score, they were 0.55 and 1.53 points. CONCLUSIONS: The SAQ method shows good reliability to evaluate the degree of Doppler flow in patients with chronic midportion Achilles tendinopathy, and it overcomes the ceiling effect of the modified Öhberg score. Future research should focus on the relationship between the SAQ method and clinical outcomes and use this method to monitor treatment responses.

Achilles tendon, Doppler, reliability study, ultrasound
dx.doi.org/10.1002/jum.15152, hdl.handle.net/1765/125808
Journal of ultrasound in medicine : official journal of the American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine
Department of Orthopaedics

van der Vlist, A.C. (Arco C.), Veen, J.M. (Jasper M.), van Oosterom, R.F. (Robert F.), Van Veldhoven, P.L.J, Verhaar, J.A.N, & de Vos, R.J. (2020). Ultrasound Doppler Flow in Patients With Chronic Midportion Achilles Tendinopathy: Is Surface Area Quantification a Reliable Method?. Journal of ultrasound in medicine : official journal of the American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine, 39(4), 731–739. doi:10.1002/jum.15152