Diagnostic accuracy of clinical tests for the diagnosis of hip femoroacetabular impingement/labral tear: a systematic review with meta-analysis

Br J Sports Med. 2015 Jun;49(12):811. doi: 10.1136/bjsports-2014-094302. Epub 2014 Dec 16.


Background: Surgery for hip femoroacetabular impingement/acetabular labral tear (FAI/ALT) is exponentially increasing despite lacking investigation of the accuracy of various diagnostic measures. Useful clinical utility of these measures is necessary to support diagnostic imaging and subsequent surgical decision-making.

Objective: Summarise/evaluate the current diagnostic accuracy of various clinical tests germane to hip FAI/ALT pathology.

Methods: A computer-assisted literature search of MEDLINE, CINAHL and EMBASE databases using keywords related to diagnostic accuracy of the hip joint, as well as the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines were used for the search and reporting phases of the study. Quality assessment of bias and applicability was conducted using the Quality of Diagnostic Accuracy Studies-2 (QUADAS-2). Random effects models were used to summarise sensitivities (SN), specificities (SP), diagnostic odds ratio (DOR) and respective confidence intervals (CI).

Results: The employed search strategy revealed 21 potential articles, with one demonstrating high quality. Nine articles qualified for meta-analysis. The meta-analysis demonstrated that flexion-adduction-internal rotation (pooled SN ranging from 0.94 (95% CI 0.90 to 0.97) to 0.99 (95% CI 0.98 to 1.00); DOR 5.71 (95% CI 0.84 to 38.86) to 7.82 (95% CI 1.06 to 57.84)) and flexion-internal rotation (pooled SN 0.96 (95% CI 0.81 to 0.99); DOR 8.36 (95% CI 0.41 to 171.3) tests possess only screening accuracy.

Conclusions: Few hip physical examination tests for diagnosing FAI/ALT have been investigated in enough studies of substantial quality to direct clinical decision-making. Further high-quality studies across a wider spectrum of hip pathology patients are recommended to discern the confirmed clinical utility of these tests.

Trials registration number: PROSPERO Registration # CRD42014010144.

Keywords: Evaluation; Evidence based review; Groin; Hip; Injury.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Femoracetabular Impingement / diagnosis*
  • Humans
  • Lacerations / diagnosis
  • Physical Examination / methods
  • Physical Examination / standards
  • ROC Curve
  • Reference Standards
  • Rupture / diagnosis