Reliability of a New Radiographic Classification for Developmental Dysplasia of the Hip

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Background:Existing radiographic classification schemes (eg, Tönnis criteria) for DDH quantify the severity of disease based on the position of the ossific nucleus relative to Hilgenreiner’s and Perkin’s lines. By definition, this method requires the presence of an ossification centre, which can be delayed in appearance and eccentric in location within the femoral head. A new radiographic classification system has been developed by the International Hip Dysplasia Institute (IHDI), which uses the mid-point of the proximal femoral metaphysis as a reference landmark, and can therefore be applied to children of all ages. The purpose of this study was to compare the reliability of this new method with that of Tönnis, as the first step in establishing its validity and clinical utility.Methods:Twenty standardized anteroposterior pelvic radiographs of children with untreated DDH were selected purposefully to capture the spectrum of age (range, 3 to 32 mo) at presentation and disease severity. Each of the hips was classified separately by the IHDI and Tönnis methods by 6 experienced pediatric orthopaedists from the United States, Canada, Mexico, United Kingdom, and by 2 orthopaedic senior residents. The inter-rater reliability was tested using the Intra Class Correlation coefficient (ICC) to measure concordance between raters.Results:All 40 hips were classifiable by the IHDI method by all raters. Ten of the 40 hips could not be classified by the Tönnis method because of the absence of the ossific nucleus on one or both sides. The ICC (95% confidence interval) for the IHDI method for all raters was 0.90 (0.83-0.95) and 0.95 (0.91-0.98) for the right and left hips, respectively. The corresponding ICCs for the Tönnis method were 0.63 (0.46-0.80) and 0.60 (0.43-0.78), respectively. There was no significant difference between the ICCs of the 6 experts and 2 trainees.Conclusions:The IHDI method of classification has excellent inter-rater reliability, both among experts and novices, and is more widely applicable than the Tönnis method as it can be applied even when the ossification centre is absent.Level of Evidence:Level II (diagnostic).

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