Classification of Pelvic Fractures: Analysis of Inter- and Intraobserver Variability Using the Young-Burgess and Tile Classification Systems

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Abstract

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Classification systems for pelvic ring injuries have been developed to assist in understanding the anatomy of the injury, predicting prognosis, and helping define treatment. Despite the frequent clinical use of the Young-Burgess and Tile classification systems, to our knowledge little work has been conducted to validate either system. We assessed the degree of inter- and intraobserver variability when using both the Young-Burgess and Tile classification systems and thereby assessed their validity for clinical use.

Eighty-nine isolated pelvic ring disruptions were selected. Sets of injury images were randomly ordered and distributed to 5 orthopedic trauma surgeons blinded to the patients' names, attending surgeons, dates of injury, and eventual treatments. The surgeons were asked to independently classify each pelvic ring disruption based on the Young-Burgess and Tile classifications. Eight weeks later, the same images were randomly ordered and redistributed to the same 5 surgeons, who were again asked to classify the pelvic injuries. A kappa analysis was conducted to analyze agreement among surgeons. A moderate degree of agreement was shown among orthopedic trauma surgeons when using both the Young-Burgess and Tile classification systems. Intraobserver agreement was found to be substantial for the Young-Burgess classification and moderate for the Tile classification. The degree of inter- and intraobserver variability may limit the usefulness of the 2 classification systems, both clinically and for research purposes.

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