Standardising the classification of skin tears: validity and reliability testing of the International Skin Tear Advisory Panel (ISTAP) Classification System in 44 countries

H. Van Tiggelen, Kim LeBlanc, Karen Campbell, Kevin Woo , S Baranoski, Y Y Chang, A.M. Dunk, M Gloeckner, H Hevia, S Holloway, P Idensohn, A Karadağ, E Koren, J Kottner, D Langemo, Karen Ousey, A Pokorná, M Romanelli, V.L.C.G. Santos, S SmetG Tariq, K Van den Bussche, A Van Hecke, S Verhaeghe, H Vuagnat, A. Williams, D Beeckman

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

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Skin tears are acute wounds that are frequently misdiagnosed and underreported. A standardised and globally adopted skin tear classification system with supporting evidence for diagnostic validity and reliability is required to allow assessment and reporting in a consistent way.
To measure the validity and reliability of the International Skin Tear Advisory Panel (ISTAP) Classification System internationally.
A multi‐country study was set up to validate the content of the ISTAP Classification System through expert consultation in a two‐round Delphi procedure involving 17 experts from 11 countries. An online survey including 24 skin tear photographs was conducted in a convenience sample of 1601 healthcare professionals from 44 countries to measure diagnostic accuracy, agreement, inter‐rater reliability, and intra‐rater reliability of the instrument.
A definition for the concept of a “skin flap” in the area of skin tears was developed and added to the initial ISTAP Classification System consisting of three skin tear types. The overall agreement with the reference standard was 0.79 (95% CI 0.79‐0.80) and sensitivity ranged from 0.74 (95% CI 0.73‐0.75) to 0.88 (95% CI 0.87‐0.88). The inter‐rater reliability was 0.57 (95% CI 0.57‐0.57). The Cohen's Kappa measuring intra‐rater reliability was 0.74 (95% CI 0.73‐0.75).
The ISTAP Classification System is supported by evidence for validity and reliability. The ISTAP Classification System should be used for a systematic assessment and reporting of skin tears in clinical practice and research globally.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages23
JournalBritish Journal of Dermatology
Early online date12 Oct 2019
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 12 Oct 2019


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