Table 2 Diagnostic value of the history item on coughing, sneezing or straining for the presence of lumbosacral nerve root compression and/or disc herniation on MRI in patients with sciatica

From: A diagnostic study in patients with sciatica establishing the importance of localization of worsening of pain during coughing, sneezing and straining to assess nerve root compression on MRI

Characteristics Nerve root compression Herniated disc
Number (total MRI) (%) MRI+ = TP (total MRI+) MRI− = FP (total MRI−) Sensitivity (95 % CI) Specificity (95 % CI) OR (95 % CI) MRI+ = TP (total MRI+) MRI− = FP (total MRI−) Sensitivity (95 % CI) Specificity (95 % CI) OR (95 % CI)
Worsening of leg and/or back pain 272 (385) 71 % 218 (306) 54 (79) 0.71 (0.66–0.76) 0.32 (0.22–0.43) 1.15 (0.67–1.96) 232 (327) 40 (58) 0.71 (0.66–0.76) 0.31 (0.20–0.45) 1.10 (0.60–2.01)
Worsening of leg pain (with or without back pain) 201 (385) 52 % 170 (306) 31 (79) 0.56 (0.50–0.61) 0.61 (0.49–0.72) 1.94 (1.17–3.21) p  = 0.01 177 (327) 24 (58) 0.54 (0.49–0.60) 0.59 (0.45–0.71) 1.67 (0.95–2.94)
Sole worsening of leg pain 141 (385) 37 % 123 (306) 18 (79) 0.40 (0.35–0.46) 0.77 (0.66–0.86) 2.28 (1.28–4.04) p  < 0.01 129 (327) 12 (58) 0.39 (0.34–0.45) 0.79 (0.67–0.89) 2.50 (1.27–4.90) p  < 0.01
  1. TP true positive, FP false positive, OR odds ratio, 95 % CI 95 % confidence interval
  2. Bold values indicate results with p < 0.05