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The intertester reliability of the general visceral test


Author: Jana Detré
Supervisor: Virginie De Bruyne

Background: The current literature does not contain a great amount of information regarding the methods and results of the basic osteopathic diagnostic techniques. This often leads to the conclusion that these techniques are not reliable. This study is not only relevant for osteopaths but also for the wider community. The health care system spends an abundant amount of money each year mainly on medication and sickness leave. 

Objective: The purpose of this study is to investigate whether the general visceral test is reliable and if the results are consistent when executed by two different researchers.

Material and method: The general visceral test is a diagnostic tool to assess the problematic visceral regions and consists of an assessment in nine ventral abdominal regions and two regions of the dorsal abdominal wall. 107 participants were asked to fill out a questionnaire and were subjected to the same examination, executed by two different researchers. The resulting data were analysed using the statistical software SPSS.  

Results: There was moderate agreement between the two researchers regarding pain (κ = 0.579, p<0.001) and resistance (κ = 0.593, p<0.0005). In 89.5% of the cases both researchers had identical results for pain. In 80.1%, both examiners did not find pain while in 9,3% they both found pain. Only 10.5% of the results were different.  For resistance, both researchers found the same result in 69.7% of the cases. 43.5% without resistance and 25.2% with resistance. In 31,3% of the investigations only one of the examiners found resistance. The least similarity is found in the left fossa region. Here the agreement amid the two researchers was not significant in terms of resistance (p =0.06).

Conclusion: The general visceral test is a moderately reliable diagnostic tool. The variable pain shows more agreement than resistance.