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This study determined whether the orientation of dorsoplantar and oblique foot radiographs has an effect on radiograph interpretation. A test set of 50 consecutive foot radiographs were selected (25 with fractures, and 25 normal), and duplicated in the horizontal orientation. The images were randomly arranged, numbered 1 through 100, and analysed by six image interpreters. Vertical and horizontal area under the ROC curve, accuracy, sensitivity and specificity were calculated for each image interpreter. There was no significant difference in the area under the ROC curve, accuracy, sensitivity or specificity of image interpretation between images viewed in the vertical or horizontal orientation. While conventions for display of radiographs may help to improve the development of an efficient visual search strategy in trainees, and allow for standardisation of publication of radiographic images, variation from the convention in clinical practice does not appear to affect the sensitivity or specificity of image interpretation.
Background: The purpose of this study was to identify the effects that X-ray source misalignment has on common measurements made from anterior-poster (AP) and medial-lateral (ML) view foot radiographs.
Methods: A cadaveric foot model was used to obtain ML radiographs with ±25 degree transverse plane misalignment. From these images the calcaneal pitch angle (CPA) and lateral talometatarsal angle (LTMA) were measured. AP images were captured with up to 30 degree sagittal plane misalignment as well as ±15 degree misalignment in the transverse plane at each sagittal angle. From these images the talonavicular coverage angle (TNCA) and talometatarsal angle (TMA) were measured.
Results: On the ML images, the CPA was sensitive to transverse plane misalignment from −10 to −25 degrees and from 15 to 25 degrees (P < .005). The LTMA was a more reliable measurement than the CPA and did not demonstrate sensitivity to transverse plane misalignment. On the AP images, the TNCA and TMA were not sensitive to sagittal plane misalignment alone. However, at 0, 10, and 15 degrees sagittal misalignment the TNCA showed sensitivity to transverse plane misalignment (P < .0083).
Conclusion: Misalignment of an X-ray source can lead to errors in the measurement of foot radiographic parameters, especially the CPA when there is transverse plane misalignment and the TNCA when there is both sagittal and transverse plane misalignment. The LTMA and TMA can be measured reliably, even with significant misalignment present.
Clinical Relevance: If a researcher or clinician is interested in measuring the CPA or TNCA, the current best practices guidelines for obtaining ML and AP images should be closely followed.