Comparing clinician use of three ankle fracture classifications
This study evaluated the accuracy and interrater reliability of US Army physician assistants (PAs) in identifying ankle fracture patterns using existing classification schemes.Methods:
Twenty-eight PAs reviewed criteria for stability, Danis-Weber, and Lauge-Hansen ankle fracture classification systems. Participants reviewed 45 ankle radiographs and independently rated each radiograph using these classification schemes.Results:
Participants were able to successfully identify ankle fracture stability in 82.1% of cases (95% CI, 77.6, 86.6) with established criteria. Using the Danis-Weber classification, accurate classification was achieved in 77.8% of cases (95% CI, 72.8, 82.7). The Lauge-Hansen classification system was least reliable, with accuracy of 54.5% (95% CI, 46, 63).Conclusion:
Referring PAs can reliably discern unstable ankle fractures in more than 80% of cases. Lauge-Hansen classification was significantly less accurate than the Danis-Weber system or criteria for stability. Good communication between orthopedic surgeons and PAs and an emphasis on PA orthopedic education can improve patient care.