Objective The diagnostic work-up for ligament and tendon injuries of the finger, hand and wrist consists of history taking, physical examination and imaging if needed, but the supporting evidence is limited. The main purpose of this study was to systematically update the literature for studies on the diagnostic accuracy of tests for detecting non-chronic ligament and tendon injuries of the finger, hand and wrist.

Methods Medline, Embase, Cochrane Library, Web of Science, Google Scholar ProQuest and Cinahl were searched from 2000 up to 6 February 2019 for identifying studies. Methodological quality was assessed using the Quality Assessment of Diagnostic Accuracy Studies 2 checklist, and sensitivity (Se), specificity (Sp), accuracy, positive predictive value (PPV) and negative predictive value (NPV) were extracted.

Results None of the studies involved history taking. Physical examination, for diagnosing lesions of the triangular fibrocartilage complex (TFCC), showed Se, Sp, accuracy, PPV and NPV ranging from 58% to 90%, 20% to 69%, 56% to 73%, 53% to 71% and 55% to 65%, respectively. Physical examination in hand and finger injuries the Se, Sp, accuracy, PPV and NPV ranged from 88% to 99%, 75% to 100%, 34% to 88%, 91% to 100% and 75% to 95%, respectively. The accuracy of MRI with high-resolution (3 T) techniques for TFCC and interosseous ligaments of the proximal carpal row ranged from 89% to 91% and 75% to 100%, respectively. The accuracy of MRI with low-resolution (1.5 T) techniques for TFCC and interosseous ligaments of the proximal carpal row ranged from 81% to 100% and 67% to 95%, respectively.

Conclusions There is limited evidence on the diagnostic accuracy of history taking and physical examination for non-chronic finger, hand and wrist ligament and tendon injuries. Although some imaging modalities seemed to be acceptable for the diagnosis of ligament and tendon injuries in the wrist in patients presenting to secondary care, there is no evidence-based advise possible for the diagnosis of non-chronic finger, hand or wrist ligament and tendon injuries in primary care.

dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2020-037810, hdl.handle.net/1765/132314
BMJ Open
Department of General Practice

Krastman, P, Mathijssen, N.M.C, Bierma-Zeinstra, S.M, Kraan, G.A, & Runhaar, J. (2020). Diagnostic accuracy of history taking, physical examination and imaging for non-chronic finger, hand and wrist ligament and tendon injuries: a systematic review update. BMJ Open, 10(11). doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2020-037810