The Reliability and Validity of the Thoracolumbar Injury Classification System in Pediatric Spine Trauma

Jason W. Savage*, Timothy A. Moore, Paul M. Arnold, Nikhil Thakur, Wellington K. Hsu, Alpesh A. Patel, Kathryn McCarthy, Gregory D. Schroeder, Alexander R. Vaccaro, John R. Dimar, Paul A. Anderson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

18 Scopus citations

Abstract

Study Design. The thoracolumbar injury classification system (TLICS) was evaluated in 20 consecutive pediatric spine trauma cases. Objective. The purpose of this study was to determine the reliability and validity of the TLICS in pediatric spine trauma. Summary of Background Data. The TLICS was developed to improve the categorization and management of thoracolumbar trauma. TLICS has been shown to have good reliability and validity in the adult population. Methods. The clinical and radiographical findings of 20 pediatric thoracolumbar fractures were prospectively presented to 20 surgeons with disparate levels of training and experience with spinal trauma. These injuries were consecutively scored using the TLICS. Cohen unweighted κ coefficients and Spearman rank order correlation values were calculated for the key parameters (injury morphology, status of posterior ligamentous complex, neurological status, TLICS total score, and proposed management) to assess the inter-rater reliabilities. Five surgeons scored the same cases 3 months later to assess the intra-rater reliability. The actual management of each case was then compared with the treatment recommended by the TLICS algorithm to assess validity. Results. The inter-rater κ statistics of all subgroups (injury morphology, status of the posterior ligamentous complex, neurological status, TLICS total score, and proposed treatment) were within the range of moderate to substantial reproducibility (0.524-0.958). All subgroups had excellent intra-rater reliability (0.748-1.000). The various indices for validity were calculated (80.3% correct, 0.836 sensitivity, 0.785 specificity, 0.676 positive predictive value, 0.899 negative predictive value). Overall, TLICS demonstrated good validity. Conclusion. The TLICS has good reliability and validity when used in the pediatric population. The inter-rater reliability of predicting management and indices for validity are lower than those in adults with thoracolumbar fractures, which is likely due to differences in the way children are treated for certain types of injuries. TLICS can be used to reliably categorize thoracolumbar injuries in the pediatric population; however, modifications may be needed to better guide treatment in this specific patient population. Level of Evidence: 4.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E1014-E1018
JournalSpine
Volume40
Issue number18
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 15 2015

Keywords

  • classification system
  • pediatric spine trauma
  • spinal instability
  • thoracolumbar fractures

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Clinical Neurology

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    Savage, J. W., Moore, T. A., Arnold, P. M., Thakur, N., Hsu, W. K., Patel, A. A., McCarthy, K., Schroeder, G. D., Vaccaro, A. R., Dimar, J. R., & Anderson, P. A. (2015). The Reliability and Validity of the Thoracolumbar Injury Classification System in Pediatric Spine Trauma. Spine, 40(18), E1014-E1018. https://doi.org/10.1097/BRS.0000000000001011