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A systematic review of patient-reported outcome measures used to assess Achilles tendon rupture management : what's being used and should we be using it?

B M J Group
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Background: Currently, there is no consensus regarding the optimal management for patients following an Achilles tendon rupture. To allow comparisons between different treatments, a universally accepted outcome measure is required. However, there are currently a range of these reported within the literature. Objective: To recommend the most suitable patient reported outcome measure for the assessment of patients following an Achilles tendon rupture, based on a systematic review of first what is currently used and second evidence of validity. Methods: The electronic databases MEDLINE, EMBASE and AMED were searched up to September 2010. Predefined inclusion and exclusion criteria were applied to identify what outcome measures are reported in the literature. Aspects of validity were defined and a checklist used to determine which aspects have been evaluated. Results: Twenty-one outcome measures in 50 research papers were identified. The most commonly used was the American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society hindfoot score. Of the 21 outcome measures, only 4 cited independent validation data. Of these four, only the ‘Achilles tendon Total Rupture Score’ reported evidence to support multiple facets of validity, as defined by a predetermined criteria checklist. Conclusions: The Achilles tendon Total Rupture Score was identified as the only outcome measure which has demonstrated multiple facets of validity for use in this patient group. However, even this tool has limitations. Researchers should be aware of the limitations of the available outcome measurement tools and check on their validity before use in clinical research.

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