Clinical value of single versus composite provocative clinical tests in the assessment of painful shoulder

J Clin Rheumatol. 2010 Apr;16(3):105-8. doi: 10.1097/RHU.0b013e3181cf8392.


Objectives: The aims of the present study were to investigate the clinical value of the provocative clinical tests and propose a composite index for the assessment of painful shoulder, using ultrasonography (US) as reference method.

Methods: Two hundred three patients with painful shoulder underwent both clinical and US evaluations. The physical examination was carried out performing the Hawkins, Jobe, Patte, Gerber, and Speed tests. Each test was included in a composite index namely, SNAPSHOT (Simple Numeric Assessment of Pain by SHOulder Tests). The US examination was performed by a rheumatologist experienced in US and blinded to clinical findings. Sensitivity, specificity, positive and negative predictive values, positive and negative likelihood ratio of each clinical test were calculated. The receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve analysis was used to assess the performance of the composite SNAPSHOT index.

Results: Sensitivity was low for the clinical diagnosis of all shoulder abnormalities. The highest sensitivity and smallest negative likelihood ratio were found for the Hawkins (63.88% and 0.50%) and Patte (62.21% and 0.52%) tests. Specificity was good for Speed (76.33%), Gerber (75.42%), and Patte (74.20%) tests. Patte and Speed tests were the most accurate (71.12% and 66.41%, respectively). The calculated area under the ROC curve related to the SNAPSHOT composite index was 0.881 +/- 0.026. With an optimal cut-off point of 3, the sensitivity and specificity were 75.8% and 87.5%, respectively.

Conclusion: The results of the present study showed that SNAPSHOT is a feasible, informative and quantitative composite index for the assessment of painful shoulder in the clinical setting.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Physical Examination / methods*
  • ROC Curve
  • Rotator Cuff Injuries
  • Shoulder Impingement Syndrome / diagnostic imaging
  • Shoulder Pain / diagnosis*
  • Shoulder Pain / diagnostic imaging
  • Ultrasonography
  • Young Adult