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Intra- and Inter-Rater Reliability of Processing Ultrasound Tissue Characterization Scans in Midportion Achilles Tendinopathy


Marc Adriaan Paantjens, Pieter Herman Helmhout, Fransiscus Jacobus Gerardus Backx, Meindert Thomas Annechien Willibrord Martens, Joeri Paulus Adrianus van Dongen, Eric Wilhelmus Petrus Bakker


Hindawi Translational Sports Medicine Volume 2022,

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Purpose. Ultrasound tissue characterization (UTC) is used to visualize and quantify the Achilles tendon structure. We investigated the intra-rater and inter-rater reliability of UTC for quantifying the midportion tendon structure and the area of maximum degeneration (AoMD) in military personnel with midportion Achilles tendinopathy. Method. UTC scans of 50 patients (16–60 years) were processed twice by rater 1 and once by rater 2. First, the midportion tendon structure was quantified and subsequently the AoMD. The intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC) was calculated for echo-types I, II, III, IV, aligned fibrillar structure (echo-types I + II), and disorganized tendon structure (echo-types III + IV). Results. For midportion tendon structure, all ICC values were excellent for intra-rater reliability (range: 0.97 to 0.99) and inter-rater reliability (range: 0.98 to 0.99). Regarding the AoMD, intra-rater reliability showed excellent ICC values for all echo-types (range: 0.94 to 0.98) except for echo-type II (0.85). Inter-rater reliability showed excellent ICC values for all echo-types (range: 0.92 to 0.98). Conclusion. Processing of UTC scans is highly reliable in quantifying the midportion Achilles tendon structure and the AoMD.

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