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Can patients apply the Ottawa ankle rules to themselves?
  1. J E J Blackham,
  2. T Claridge,
  3. J R Benger
  1. Academic Department of Emergency Care, Emergency Department, United Bristol Healthcare Trust, Bristol, UK
  1. Dr J R Benger, Academic Department of Emergency Care, Emergency Department, United Bristol Healthcare Trust, Bristol BS2 8HW, UK; jonathan.benger{at}ubht.nhs.uk

Abstract

Objective: To determine whether patients with an ankle injury obtained the same results as clinicians when applying the Ottawa ankle rules (a validated clinical decision rule) to themselves.

Methods: Patients aged >15 years presenting to an inner city emergency department within 48 h of an ankle injury were asked to assess their own injury using the Ottawa ankle rules. The results of their self-assessment were compared with those of a treating clinician.

Results: Poor interobserver agreement was found between patients and clinicians.

Conclusions: Making the Ottawa ankle rule more widely available to the general public is unlikely to reduce healthcare demand. Indeed, given the apparently low specificity of the rule, demand could actually increase as a result.

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Footnotes

  • Figures 1 and 2 and the information sheet and pictorial questionnaire describing the Ottawa ankle rules is shown in Appendix 1 published online only at http://emj.bmj.com/content/vol25/issue11

  • Funding: None.

  • Competing interests: None.

  • Ethics approval: The study was approved by the North Bristol research ethics committee and written informed consent was obtained from trial participants.

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