Investigator analytic repeatability of two new intervertebral motion biomarkers for chronic, nonspecific low back pain in a cohort of healthy controls
Background: Understanding the mechanisms underlying chronic, nonspecific low back pain (CNSLBP) is essential to advance personalized care and identify the most appropriate intervention. Recently, two intervertebral motion biomarkers termed “Motion Sharing Inequality” (MSI) and “Motion Sharing Variability” (MSV) have been identified for CNSLBP using quantitative fluoroscopy (QF). The aim of this study was to conduct intra- and inter-investigator analytic repeatability studies to determine the extent to which investigator error affects their measurement in clinical studies. Methods: A cross-sectional cohort study was conducted using the image sequences of 30 healthy controls who received QF screening during passive recumbent flexion motion. Two independent investigators analysed the image sequences for MSI and MSV from October to November 2018. Intra and inter- investigator repeatability studies were performed using intraclass correlations (ICC), standard errors of measurement (SEM) and minimal differences (MD). Results: Intra-investigator ICCs were 0.90 (0.81,0.95) (SEM 0.029) and 0.78 (0.59,0.89) (SEM 0.020) for MSI and MSV, respectively. Inter-investigator ICCs 0.93 (0.86,0.97) (SEM 0.024) and 0.55 (0.24,0.75) (SEM 0.024). SEMs for MSI and MSV were approximately 10% and 30% of their group means respectively. The MDs for MSI for intra- and inter-investigator repeatability were 0.079 and 0.067, respectively and for MSV 0.055 and 0.067. Conclusions: MSI demonstrated substantial intra- and inter-investigator repeatability, suggesting that investigator input has a minimal influence on its measurement. MSV demonstrated moderate intra-investigator reliability and fair inter-investigator repeatability. Confirmation in patients with CNSLBP is now required.