Diagnostic accuracy of MRI for identifying posterior element bone stress injury in athletes with low back pain: a systematic review and narrative synthesis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Authors

  • Roy Esh
  • Linn Helen J Grødahl
  • Robert Kerslake
  • Kate Strachan
  • Simon Spencer
  • Louise Fawcett

Abstract

Objective To investigate the diagnostic accuracy of MRI for identifying posterior element bone stress injury (PEBSI) in the athletic population with low back pain (LBP). Study Design A systematic review searched for published sources up until July 2020. Eligibility criteria: prospective cohort design, MRI diagnosis, adolescents/young adults, chief symptoms of LBP, PEBSI as the clinical diagnosis and SPECT-CT as reference standard. Risk of bias and overall quality were assessed using QUADAS-2 and GRADE, respectively. A narrative synthesis was conducted. Results Four studies were included, with three included in the quantitative synthesis. Compared with SPECT-CT, two studies involving MRI demonstrated sensitivity and specificity of 80% and 100%, and 88% and 97%, respectively. Compared with CT, one study involving MRI demonstrated sensitivity and specificity of 97% and 91%, respectively. Risk of bias was moderate to high although consistency across studies was noted. Conclusion Findings support further research to consider MRI as the modality of choice for diagnosing PEBSI. MRI was consistent with SPECT-CT for ruling-in PEBSI, but the clinical value of cases where MRI had false negatives remains uncertain due to possible over-sensitivity by SPECT-CT. PROSPERO registration number CRD42015023979.

Details

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere000764
JournalBMJ Open Sport & Exercise Medicine
Volume6
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2 Oct 2020

Keywords

  • Athlete, Back injuries, Diagnosis, Evidence based review, MRI