Digital blinding of radiographs to mask allocation in a randomized control trial
JournalWorld Journal of Orthopaedics
PublisherBaishideng Publishing Group Co
MetadataShow full item record
AbstractAIM To demonstrate the effectiveness of a digital radiographic altering technique in concealing treatment allocation to blind outcome assessment of distal femur fracture fixation. METHODS Digital postoperative anteroposterior and lateral radiographs from a sample of 33 randomly-selected patients with extra-articular distal femur fractures treated by surgical fixation at a Level 1 trauma center were included. Using commercially available digital altering software, we devised a technique to blind the radiographs by overlaying black boxes over the implant hardware while preserving an exposed fracture site for assessment of fracture healing. Three fellowship-trained surgeons evaluated a set of blinded radiographs twice and a control set of unblinded radiographs once. Each set of radiographs were reviewed independently and in a randomly-assigned order. The degrees of agreement and disagreement among evaluators in identifying implant type while reviewing both blinded and unblinded radiographs were assessed using the Bang Blinding Index and James Blinding Index. The degree of agreement in fracture union was assessed using kappa statistics. RESULTS The assessment of blinded radiographs with both the Bang Blinding Index (BBI) and James Blinding Index (JBI) demonstrated a low degree of evaluator success at identifying implant type (Mean BBI, far cortical locking: -0.03, SD: 0.04; Mean BBI, standard screw: 0, SD: 0; JBI: 0.98, SD: 0), suggesting near perfect blinding. The assessment of unblinded radiographs with both blinding indices demonstrated a high degree of evaluator success at identifying implant type (Mean BBI, far cortical locking: 0.89, SD: 0.19; Mean BBI, standard screw: 0.87, SD: 0.04; JBI: 0.26, SD: 0.12), as expected. There was moderate agreement with regard to assessment of fracture union among the evaluators in both the blinded (Kappa: 0.38, 95%CI: 0.25-0.52) and unblinded (Kappa: 0.35, 95%CI: 0.25-0.45) arms of the study. There was no statistically significant difference in fracture union agreement between the blinded and unblinded groups. CONCLUSION The digital blinding technique successfully masked the surgeons to the type of implant used for surgical treatment of distal femur fractures but did not interfere with the surgeons' ability to reliably evaluate radiographic healing at the fracture site. Copyright The Author(s) 2017.
Patient outcome assessment
Randomized controlled trials
Identifier to cite or link to this itemhttps://www.scopus.com/inward/record.uri?eid=2-s2.0-85031710925&doi=10.5312%2fwjo.v8.i10.785&partnerID=40&md5=21f67edfa4b8b862e566c02a863b6fcd; http://hdl.handle.net/10713/11329