OBJECTIVE: Our systematic review summarizes the evidence about the accuracy of physical diagnostic tests for assessing meniscal lesions of the knee. SEARCH STRATEGY: We performed a literature search of MEDLINE (1966-1999) and EMBASE (1988-1999) with additional reference tracking. SELECTION CRITERIA: Articles written in English, French, German, or Dutch that addressed the accuracy of at least one physical diagnostic test for meniscus injury with arthrotomy, arthroscopy, or magnetic resonance imaging as the gold standard were included. DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS: Two reviewers independently selected studies, assessed the methodologic quality, and abstracted data using a standardized protocol. MAIN RESULTS: Thirteen studies (of 402) met the inclusion criteria. The results of the index and reference tests were assessed independently (blindly) of each other in only 2 studies, and in all studies verification bias seemed to be present. The study results were highly heterogeneous. The summary receiver operating characteristic curves of the assessment of joint effusion, the McMurray test, and joint line tenderness indicated little discriminative power for these tests. Only the predictive value of a positive McMurray test was favorable. CONCLUSIONS: The methodologic quality of studies addressing the diagnostic accuracy of meniscal tests was poor, and the results were highly heterogeneous. The poor characteristics indicate that these tests are of little value for clinical practice.
Scholten, R. J. P. M., Devillé, W. L. J. M., Opstelten, W., Bijl, D., Van Der Plas, C. G., & Bouter, L. M. (2001). The accuracy of physical diagnostic tests for assessing meniscal lesions of the knee: A meta-analysis. Journal of Family Practice, 50(11), 938–944.