Evaluation of Fracture and Osteotomy Union in the Setting of Osteogenesis Imperfecta: Reliability of the Modified Radiographic Union Score for Tibial Fractures (RUST)

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Abstract

Background:

Evaluation of the union of osteotomies and fractures in patients with osteogenesis imperfecta (OI) is a critical component of patient care. Studies of the OI patient population have so far used varied criteria to evaluate bony union. The radiographic union score for tibial fractures (RUST), which was subsequently revised to the modified RUST, is an objective standardized method of evaluating fracture healing. We sought to evaluate the reliability of the modified RUST in the setting of the tibias of patients with OI.

Methods:

Tibial radiographs of 30 patients with OI fractures, or osteotomies were scored by 3 observers on 2 separate occasions. Each of the 4 cortices was given a score (1=no callus, 2=callus present, 3=bridging callus, and 4=remodeled, fracture not visible) and the modified RUST is the sum of these scores (range, 4 to 16). The interobserver and intraobserver reliabilities were evaluated using intraclass coefficients (ICC) with 95% confidence intervals.

Results:

The ICC representing the interobserver reliability for the first iteration of scores was 0.926 (0.864 to 0.962) and for the second series was 0.915 (0.845 to 0.957). The ICCs representing the intraobserver reliability for each of the 3 reviewers for the measurements in series 1 and 2 were 0.860 (0.707 to 0.934), 0.994 (0.986 to 0.997), and 0.974 (0.946 to 0.988).

Conclusions:

The modified RUST has excellent interobserver and intraobserver reliability in the setting of OI despite challenges related to the poor quality of the bone and its dysplastic nature. The application and routine use of the modified RUST in the OI population will help standardize our evaluation of osteotomy and fracture healing.

Level of Evidence:

Level III—retrospective study of nonconsecutive patients.

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