The validity of the Mirels score for predicting impending pathological fractures of the lower limb

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Abstract

Aims

The aim of this study was to validate the Mirels score in predicting pathological fractures in metastatic disease of the lower limb.

Patients and Methods

A total of 62 patients with confirmed metastatic disease met the inclusion criteria. Of the 62 patients, 32 were female and 30 were male. The mean age of patients was 65 years (35 to 89). The primary malignancy originated from the breast in 27 (44%) patients, prostate in 15 (24%) patients, kidney in seven (11%), and lung in four (6%) of patients. One patient (2%) had metastatic carcinoma from the lacrimal gland, two patients (3%) had multiple myeloma, one patient (2%) had lymphoma of bone, and five patients (8%) had metastatic carcinoma of unknown primary. Plain radiographs at the time of initial presentation were scored using Mirels system by the four authors. The radiographic components of the score (anatomical site, size, and radiographic appearance) were scored two weeks apart. Inter- and intraobserver reliability were calculated with Fleiss’ kappa test. Bland-Altman plots were created to compare the variances of the individual components of the score and the total Mirels score.

Results

Kappa values for the interobserver variability of the components of the Mirels score were k = 0.554 (95% CI 0.483 to 0.626) for site, k = 0.342 (95% CI 0.285 to 0.400) for size, k = 0.443 (95% CI 0.387 to 0.499) for radiographic appearance, and k = 0.294 (95% CI 0.258 to 0.331)for the total score. Kappa values for the intra-observer reliability were k = 0.608 (95% CI 0.506 to 0.710) for site, k = 0.579 (95% CI 0.487 to 0.670) for size, k = 0.614 (95% CI 0.522 to 0.703) for radiographic appearance, and k = 0.323 (95% CI 0.266 to 0.379) for total score.

Conclusion

Our study showed fair to moderate agreement between authors when using the Mirels score, and moderate to substantial agreement when authors rescored radiographs. The Mirels score is subjective and lacks reproducibility in predicting the risk of pathological fracture.

Conclusion

Cite this article:Bone Joint J2018;100-B:1100–5.

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