Inter-observer reliability of the arthroscopic quantification of chondropathy of the knee

Xavier Ayral, Alice Gueguen, Robert W. Ike, Jean Paul Bonvarlet, Luigi Frizziero, Kenneth Kalunian, Larry W. Moreland, Steve Myers, Kenneth S. O'Rourke, Harald Roos, Roy Altman, Maxime Dougados

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

60 Scopus citations


Background: Several scoring systems have been proposed in order to quantify the degree of cartilage damage observed by arthroscopy of the knee in patients with osteoarthritis. Objective: To evaluate the inter-observer reliability of five different scoring systems of arthroscopic evaluation for chondropathy in osteoarthritis of the knee and to evaluate the utility of a training session between different observations on these scoring systems. Methods: Videotapes of knee arthroscopies on five patients with osteoarthritis demonstrating different levels of severity of cartilage damage of the medial tibiofemoral compartment were analyzed by nine observers prior to (pre-training evaluation) and 2 months after a 6 h training session (post- training evaluation) by the following scoring systems: (1) cartilage deterioration by a 100 mm visual analogue scale (VAS), (2) overall assessment of degeneration in the entire medial compartment (cartilage, meniscus, osteophyte) using a 100 mm VAS, (3) French Society of Arthroscopy (SFA) Scoring System, (4) SFA Grading System, (5) American College of Rheumatology (ACR) Scoring System. Results: At the pre-training evaluation, the SFA grading system produced the highest coefficient of reliability (r = 0.94), the other systems recording levels of ≤ 0.80. At the post-training evaluation, the coefficient of reliability was r > 0.80 for four of the five scoring systems, with lack of improvement in the ACR Scoring System. Conclusion: There was an improved and acceptable inter-observer reliability for at least 2 months follow-up in four of five evaluated scoring systems of arthroscopically graded osteoarthritis of the knee following a training session. A scoring system using a 100 mm VAS may produce the best inter- observer reliability. These results show that scoring chondropathy is possible and demonstrate the importance of training in the analysis of articular cartilage breakdown.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)160-166
Number of pages7
JournalOsteoarthritis and Cartilage
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1998
Externally publishedYes


  • Arthroscopy
  • Knee
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Outcome measure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rheumatology
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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