Bone and Joint Institute


Psychometric properties of the global rating of change scales in patients with low back pain, upper and lower extremity disorders. A systematic review with meta-analysis

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Journal of Orthopaedics



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© 2020 Professor P K Surendran Memorial Education Foundation Objective: The purpose of this systematic review was to critically appraise and synthesize the psychometric properties of the Global Rating of Change (GRoC) scales on the assessment of patients with low back pain (LBP), upper extremity and lower extremity disorders. Methods: A search was performed in 4 databases (MEDLINE, EMBASE, CINAHL, SCOPUS) until February 2019. Eligible articles were appraised using Consensus-based Standards for the selection of health Measurement Instruments (COSMIN) checklist and the Quality Appraisal for Clinical Measurement Research Reports Evaluation Form. Results: The 8 eligible studies included participants with orthopedic lumbar spine impairments (n = 52,767), patients with work-related musculoskeletal disorders (n = 1944), patients with low back pain (n = 183) and individuals with upper extremity disorders (n = 151). Risk of bias was ranging from “adequate” to “very good” and quality was found excellent for all studies. Based on pooled data, test-retest reliability of 11-item GRoC for patients with low back pain was found excellent ICC = 0.84, 95% CI: 0.65 to 0.94. Test-retest reliability in patients with shoulder pain was found fair to good ICC of 0.62 in a 15-point GRoC scale. Seven studies (n = 7) examined the convergent validity between GRoC and another outcome measure. Minimum important change on the Portuguese version of Global Perceived Effect (GPE) for patients with LBP was 2.5 points out of 11 points. Conclusions: The current pool of clinical measurement studies indicates that the GRoC has excellent test-retest reliability for patients with low back pain, shoulder pain and with lumbar spine disorders. However, the validity of it as a reference standard in responsiveness studies or as an accurate overall assessment of change has been questioned. While future studies might provide more insight into its measurement properties, this limitation is unlikely to change. Therefore, we suggest that future responsiveness in the studies that want a global indicator measure need to use an additional measure to mitigate recall bias. Prospero registration number: CRD 42020149122.

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