Introduction Lack of consensus regarding terminology and diagnostic criteria used to describe and identify patients with subacromial impingement syndrome (SIS) could be an important driver of misconceptions and misinterpretations of scientific results in this population. We aim to map the literature regarding terminology and diagnostic criteria used in clinical studies investigating SIS.
Materials and Methods PubMed, Embase, CINAHL and SPORTDiscus were searched from inception to June 2020 using known terms for SIS. Peer-reviewed clinical studies investigating SIS were eligible for inclusion. Studies containing secondary analyses of a previously published study, reviews, pilot studies and studies with less than ten participants were excluded. Two reviewers independently screened titles and abstracts, three reviewers independently applied inclusion and exclusion criteria to full-text versions of the articles and one reviewer extracted data. Disagreement between the reviewers was resolved through dialogue.
Results 11.056 records were identified. 911 were retrieved for full-text screening. 535 were included. 20 different terms for SIS were identified. The diagnostic criteria were generally based on a cluster of pain provocative shoulder tests. 134 different diagnostic criteria were identified. 30% of the studies used a combination of clinical tests and imaging. 9% of the studies specified that they included patients with full-thickness supraspinatus tears and 46% specified that they did not.
Conclusion There is a worrying lack of consensus regarding terminology and diagnostic criteria for SIS. This calls for careful consideration when interpreting the results of studies investigating SIS and when comparing studies.
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