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Interobserver agreement in the diagnosis of canine hip dysplasia
As every veterinarian knows, the interpretation of x-rays for the diagnosis of his dysplasia is highly subjective. What happens if x-rays using the standard ventrodorsal hip-extended radiographic method are sent to different specialists? A very interesting study that has been published recently has surprising new results - e.g. the agreement increases with the experience of the observers!

The objective of this study was to determine the agreement between observers and to investigate the effect of observer experience in diagnosing canine hip dysplasia and providing final scoring of hips using the standard ventrodorsal hip-extended radiographic method. The agreement of the final scoring, with a presumed correct assessment based on the Norberg angle, is also investigated.

Methods: Thirty observers were requested to read 50 ventrodorsal hip-extended radiographs of 25 dogs according to Federation Cynologique International criteria. Groups of experienced (nine members) and inexperienced (21 members) observers were used.

Results: For providing the distinction between dysplastic versus non-dysplastic dogs, the average interobserver agreement was 72 per cent and was significantly higher (P<0路0001) than the score that could be expected by chance without any agreement between observers.

For providing the final score (A, B, C, D or E), an average interobserver agreement of 43路6 per cent was found.

In the experienced group, an agreement score of 76 per cent was found for the distinction between AB versus non-AB and an agreement score of 81 per cent was found for the distinction between C versus non-C.

The agreement score was significantly higher (P<0路0001) for the experienced group than for the inexperienced group in all cases.

Agreement between the presumed correct assessment based on the Norberg angle and the observer聭s evaluation was low (P=0路35), irrespective of whether the observers were experienced (71路8 per cent correct assessments) or inexperienced (69 per cent correct assessments).

Clinical Significance: Although interobserver agreement is low, observer experience increases agreement.



Source: G. Verhoeven, F. Coopman, L. Duchateau, J. H. Saunders, B. van Rijssen, H. van Bree (2007): Interobserver agreement in the diagnosis of canine hip dysplasia using the standard ventrodorsal hip-extended radiographic method. In: Journal of Small Animal Practice 48 (7), 387聳393.



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