Provocative wrist tests and MRI are of limited diagnostic value for suspected wrist ligament injuries: a cross-sectional study

Rosemary Prosser, Lisa Harvey, Paul LaStayo, Ian Hargreaves, Peter Scougall, Robert D. Herbert
2011 Journal of Physiotherapy  
Question: What is the diagnostic value of provocative wrist tests and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) for suspected wrist ligament injuries? Design: Cross-sectional study. Participants: 105 people presenting to hand clinics with wrist pain and suspected wrist ligament injuries were evaluated prospectively. Outcome measures: The integrity of wrist ligaments was tested with seven provocative tests. The results were compared to the reference standard of arthroscopy. In a subgroup of 55
more » ... up of 55 participants, MRI findings were also compared to arthroscopy. The provocative tests were the scaphoid shift test (SS test), lunotriquetral test (LT test), midcarpal test (MC test), distal radioulnar joint test (DRUJ test), triangular fibrocartilage complex (TFCC) stress test (TFCC test), TFCC stress test with compression (TFCC comp test), and the gripping rotatory impaction test (GRIT). Results: Most provocative tests and MRI findings were of little or no value for diagnosing wrist ligament injuries. Exceptions were the SS test (+ve LR 2.88 and -ve LR 0.28), MC test (+ve LR 2.67) and DRUJ test (-ve LR 0.30), all of which were of mild diagnostic usefulness. MRI was moderately useful for diagnosing TFCC injuries (+ve LR 5.56, -ve LR 0.15), and was mildly useful for diagnosing scapholunate (SL) ligament injuries (+ve LR 4.17, -ve LR 0.32) and lunate cartilage damage (+ve LR 3.67, -ve LR 0.33). Adding MRI to provocative tests improved the accuracy of diagnosis of TFCC injuries slightly (by 13%) and lunate cartilage damage (by 8%). Conclusion: Provocative wrist tests of SL ligament injuries and midcarpal ligament injuries are mildly useful for diagnosing wrist injuries. MRI diagnostic findings of SL ligament injuries, lunate cartilage damage, and TFCC are mildly to moderately useful. MRI slightly improves the diagnosis of TFCC injury and lunate cartilage damage compared to provocative tests alone. [Prosser R, Harvey L, LaStayo P, Hargreaves I, Scougall P, Herbert RD (2011) Provocative wrist tests and MRI are of limited diagnostic value for suspected wrist ligament injuries: a crosssectional study. Journal of Physiotherapy 57: 247-253]
doi:10.1016/s1836-9553(11)70055-8 pmid:22093123 fatcat:wz4wznfqczeydiehnccxwyq3ta