Assessment of the Accuracy of the AO Spine-TL Classification for Thoracolumbar Spine Fractures Using the AO Surgery Reference Mobile App

Global Spine J. 2020 Jan 29;2192568220901694. doi: 10.1177/2192568220901694. Online ahead of print.


Study design: Cohort study.

Objectives: This study aimed to evaluate the accuracy of the AO Surgery Reference mobile app in the diagnosis of thoracolumbar fractures of the spine according to the AO TL classification, and to discuss the usefulness of this app in the teaching and training of the resident physicians in orthopedics and traumatology area.

Methods: The 24 residents of Orthopedic and Traumatology program assessed 20 cases of thoracolumbar fractures selected from the hospital database on 2 different occasions, with a 30-day interval, and they classified these cases with and without using the AO Surgery Reference app. A group of spine experts previously established the gold standard and the answers were statistically compared, with the inter- and intraobserver reliability evaluated by the kappa index.

Results: The use of the AO Surgery Reference app increased the classification success rate of the fracture morphology (from 53.4% to 72.5%), of the comorbidity modifier (from 61.4% to 77.9%) and of the neurological status modifier (from 55.1% to 72.9%). In addition, the mobile app raised the classification agreement and accuracy. The kappa index increased from 0.30 to 0.53 regarding the morphological classification of fractures.

Conclusions: The residents improved their ability to recognize and classify thoracolumbar spine fractures, which reinforces the importance of this tool in medical education and clinical practice.

Keywords: classification; data accuracy; spinal fracture; spine.