Consensus on the Clinical Diagnosis of Lumbar Spinal Stenosis: Results of an International Delphi Study
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Copyright © 2016 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved. STUDY DESIGN.: Delphi. OBJECTIVE.: Obtain an expert consensus on which history factors are most important in the clinical diagnosis of LSS. SUMMARY OF BACKGROUND DATA.: Lumbar spinal stenosis (LSS) is a poorly defined clinical syndrome. Criteria for defining LSS are needed and should be informed by the experience of expert clinicians. METHODS.: Phase 1 (Delphi Items): 20 members of the International Taskforce on the Diagnosis and Management of LSS confirmed a list of 14 history items. An on-line survey was developed that permits specialists to express the logical order in which they consider the items, and the level of certainty ascertained from the questions. Phase 2 (Delphi Study) Round 1: Survey distributed to members of the International Society for the Study of the Lumbar Spine. Round 2: Meeting of 9 members of Taskforce where consensus was reached on a final list of 10 items. Round 3: Final survey was distributed internationally. Phase 3: Final Taskforce consensus meeting. RESULTS.: 279 clinicians from 29 different countries, with a mean of 19 (±SD: 12) years in practice participated. The six top items were “leg or buttock pain while walking”, “flex forward to relieve symptoms”, “feel relief when using a shopping cart or bicycle”, “motor or sensory disturbance while walking”, “normal and symmetric foot pulses”, “lower extremity weakness” and “low back pain”. Significant change in certainty ceased after 6 questions at 80% (p?<?.05). CONCLUSIONS.: This is the first study to reach an international consensus on the clinical diagnosis of LSS, and suggests that within six questions clinicians are 80% certain of diagnosis. We propose a consensus-based set of “7 history items” that can act as a pragmatic criterion for defining LSS in both clinical and research settings, which in the long-term may lead to more cost-effective treatment, improved health-care utilization and enhanced patient outcomes.Level of Evidence: 2
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