Methods: The charts of 2352 patients with sciatic pain with/without lumbar pain were examined. Results of the SLR were then compared with previous spinal MRI. A 2 × 2 contingency table was created, and analysis of sensitivity, specificity, positive and negative predictive values, diagnostic odds ratio, likelihood ratio (LR), and receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve was carried out. Homogeneous age classes were created to compare them statistically.
Results: Magnetic resonance imaging findings showed lumbar disk herniation (LDH) in 1305 patients. Of these subjects, 741 were positive on SLR testing. Sensitivity was 0.36, whereas specificity was 0.74. Positive and negative predictive values were 0.69 and 0.52, respectively. Positive LR was 1.38, and negative LR was 0.87. Diagnostic odds ratio was 1.59, and ROC analysis showed an area under the curve (AUC) of 0.596. The AUC decreased from 0.730 in the 16- to 25-year subgroup to 0.515 in the 76- to 85-year subgroup. Similar results were obtained in subjects with LDH and nerve root compression.
Conclusions: Our results indicate low accuracy of the SLR in diagnosis of LDH if compared with MRI results. The discriminative power of the SLR seemed to decrease as age increased; thus, positive and negative results may be less conclusive in older patients.
This abstract is reproduced with the permission of the publisher; full text by subscription. Click on the above link and select a publisher from PubMed's LinkOut feature.