Bone and Joint Institute

Document Type


Publication Date








First Page


Last Page


URL with Digital Object Identifier



Objective The purpose of this article is to determine whether patient-reported history items are predictive of shoulder pathology and have the potential for use in triaging patients with shoulder pathology to orthopaedic outpatient clinics. Setting It is set at two tertiary orthopaedic clinics. Patients All new patients reporting pain and/or disability of the shoulder joint were prospectively recruited. A total of 193 patients were enrolled, 15 of whom withdrew, leaving 178 patients composing the study sample. Design Patients completed a questionnaire on the history of their pathology, then the surgeon took a thorough history indicating the most likely diagnosis. The clinician then performed appropriate physical examination. Arthroscopy was the reference standard for those undergoing surgery and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) with arthrogram for all others. We calculated the sensitivity, specificity, and likelihood ratios (LRs) of history items alone and in combination. We used the LRs to generate a clinical decision algorithm. Main Outcome Measures Diagnosis was determined through arthroscopy or MRI arthrogram. Reporting was standardized to ensure review of all structures. Results The physical examination and history agreed in 75% of cases. Of those that did not agree, the physical examination misdirected the diagnosis in 47% of our cases. In particular, history items were strong predictors of anterior and posterior instability and subscapularis tears and were combined in a tool to be utilized for screening patients. Conclusion The patient-reported history items were effective for diagnosing shoulder pathology and should be considered for use in a triaging instrument.


This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons CC BY license, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. You are not required to obtain permission to reuse this article.

The article was originally published at: Surg J (N Y) 2017; 03(02): e79-e87 DOI: 10.1055/s-0037-1601878

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Find in your library



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.