Author(s): Bachmann LM, Kolb E, Koller MT, Steurer J, ter Riet G
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Abstract OBJECTIVE: To summarise the evidence on accuracy of the Ottawa ankle rules, a decision aid for excluding fractures of the ankle and mid-foot. DESIGN: Systematic review. DATA SOURCES: Electronic databases, reference lists of included studies, and experts. REVIEW METHODS: Data were extracted on the study population, the type of Ottawa ankle rules used, and methods. Sensitivities, but not specificities, were pooled using the bootstrap after inspection of the receiver operating characteristics plot. Negative likelihood ratios were pooled for several subgroups, correcting for four main methodological threats to validity. RESULTS: 32 studies met the inclusion criteria and 27 studies reporting on 15 581 patients were used for meta-analysis. The pooled negative likelihood ratios for the ankle and mid-foot were 0.08 (95\% confidence interval 0.03 to 0.18) and 0.08 (0.03 to 0.20), respectively. The pooled negative likelihood ratio for both regions in children was 0.07 (0.03 to 0.18). Applying these ratios to a 15\% prevalence of fracture gave a less than 1.4\% probability of actual fracture in these subgroups. CONCLUSIONS: Evidence supports the Ottawa ankle rules as an accurate instrument for excluding fractures of the ankle and mid-foot. The instrument has a sensitivity of almost 100\% and a modest specificity, and its use should reduce the number of unnecessary radiographs by 30-40\%.
This article was published in BMJ
and referenced in Clinical Pharmacology & Biopharmaceutics