Reliability of coracohumeral distance and subcoracoid tendons in subacromial pain syndrome

Abstract

This study investigated the intra-rater reliability of a novice ultrasound (US) examiner and the interrater reliability of two examiners (novice, expert) in the measures of coracohumeral distance at rest (CHD) and at 60° of elevation without (CHD60) or with weights (CHD60w), tendon thickness of the long head of the biceps (LHB) and subscapularis (SCP). Twenty-one patients with subacromial pain syndrome (SAPS) and 20 asymptomatic participants were included. Intra and inter-rater reliability were tested with intraclass-correlation-coefficient (ICC), differences between raters were analyzed with Bland–Altman plots. Intra-rater reliability for CHD, CHD60 and CHD60w was excellent (ICC = 0.97– 0.98) in asymptomatic participants, and good-to-excellent (0.88–0.93) in SAPS, while intra-rater reliability for LHB and SCP was good-to-excellent in asymptomatic participants (0.88–0.97) and in SAPS (0.90–0.92). Inter-rater reliability for CHD, CHD60 and CHD60w was moderate-to-good (0.70– 0.90) in asymptomatic participants and good (0.85–0.87) in SAPS, in contrast inter-rater reliability for LHB and SCP was poor in asymptomatic participants (0.10–0.46) and poor-to-moderate (0.49–0.61) in SAPS. Bland–Altman plots revealed systematic and/or proportional bias for tendons’ thickness. A novice showed good-to-excellent intra-rater reliability in all US measures, whereas in comparison to an expert a novice can measure reliably CHD, CHD60 and CHD60w, but not LHB and SCP, where more training is recommended.University of Antwerp (grant number: 37063)Research Foundation Flanders—FWO (grant number: 1158121N

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