Primary Outcome Measures:
- Prospective validation of clinical decision rules [ Time Frame: to be measured at study conclusion ] [ Designated as safety issue: Yes ]
Clinical Decision rules have safely and successfully allowed clinicians to reduce the total number of radiographs ordered, while detecting patients with important pathology or injuries. The Ottawa Ankle and Knee Rules were developed from a series of studies, and have successfully reduced the number of radiographs ordered by physicians without missing serious ankle fractures (1-4). Likewise, the NEXUS group developed a clinical decision rule for the selection of blunt trauma patients who are appropriate for imaging, based on clinical features (5).
Drs. Hendey and Emond have separately developed similar algorithms for selective radiography in patients with a suspected shoulder dislocation (6-10). The goal of the current study is to compare and validate the two clinical algorithms.
Both approaches examine clinical features that are readily accessible to the physician at the time of ED evaluation. In the pre-reduction assessment, both algorithms included the mechanism of injury and whether the patient had experienced a previous shoulder dislocation. Hendey additionally assessed whether the physician was clinically confident of the dislocation (8). Emond additionally included the age of the patient, and the presence or absence of humeral ecchymosis (9). In the post-reduction assessment, both algorithms emphasize the importance of clinical certainty of reduction, as well as the presence of a fracture dislocation.