Abstract: Resnick-Niwayama criteria for diagnosing DISH depict an advanced stage, and a new reduced cut-off point with three contiguous vertebrae affected (two bone bridges) has been proposed. The aim has been to know the interobserver agreement by using a graded scale of DISH in which grade II matches with the new proposed cut-off point and grade III matches with the first criterion of Resnick-Niwayama. Males ??50 years and postmenopausal women included in a population-based prospective study (the Camargo Cohort) were analyzed. Sample size was obtained according to an expected kappa of 0.95 and an accuracy of ±?8%. Three physicians applied independently Schlapbach graded scale (ranged from grade 0, no ossification, to grade III, ??3 consecutive bone bridges) on the lateral radiographs of thoracic and lumbar spine of participants. We calculated inter- and intra-observer agreement and correlation. One hundred and fifty eight radiographs (79 patients, 68?±?9 years) were assessed. Kappa values (95% confidence interval) for grades 0, I, II, and III were 0.63 (0.50-0.77), 0.49 (0.37-0.62), 0.32 (0.17-0.47), and 0.69 (0.60-0.77), respectively. Weighted kappa for the three pairs of raters were 0.87 (0.82-0.93), 0.84 (0.77-0.91), and 0.81 (0.72-0.90). Grade III was the image that generated greater agreement, while a significant decrease was noted in grade II, the new proposed criterion. The simultaneous presence of an incomplete DISH and osteoarthritis, in a thoracic spinal segment with peculiar anatomical characteristics (reduced disk spaces, kyphotic curve), is thought to be a major cause of variability in the results.
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