Monday, August 25, 2008

Frank's sign

I just got back from Hong Kong recently for a holiday.During a morning of breakfast, while I looked around I noticed this man who was sitting eating 'Tim Sum' and I am sure he has coronary artery disease.
There was obvious Frank's sign.

Frank's sign is a diagonal crease in the lobule of the auricle :
Grade 3 - a deep cleft across the whole earlobe
Grade 2a - crease more than halfway across the lobe
Grade 2b - crease across the lobe, but superficial
Grade 1 - lesser degree of wrinkling

Ear lobe creases are associated statistically with coronary artery disease in most of the population groups.

For those who are medical students, if you get a case of Ischaemic heart disease or IHD, please look for this in addition to xanthalesma and corneal arcus in your exam.

For MRCP PACES candidates, if you still have not heard of this, you have not read enough of An Aid to the MRCP PACES by R.E,J Ryder, M.A Mir & E.A Freeman. It is on page 14 Section B on the 3rd edition and if I remember correctly it is in the first few pages in the 2nd edition when I read it long time ago during my medical student days.


Anonymous said...

what is the likelihood ratio of Frank 's sign

Wuchereria said...

The authors study the sensitivity, the specificity and the predicting value of Frank's sign (presence of a groove at the level of the earlobe) on a group of 172 patients undergoing a clinical examination, an EKG at rest and effort, and a selective coronary arteriogram for suspicion of coronary disease. The criteria retained for the diagnosis of coronary disease is the presence of stenosis superior or equal to 75 p. cent in one of the three main coronary vascular trunks. Statistical studies using the CHI 2 test reveal a highly significant association between Frank's sign and coronary disease (p less than 0.001). The sensitivity of Frank's sign reaches 75 p. cent, its specificity 57.5 p. cent and its positive predicting value 80.3 p. cent. The predicting value is a function of the sex: it is a great deal lower in women (50 p. cent) than in men (84.7 p. cent). The prevalence of Frank's sign increases progressively with age: 42 p. cent in the 30-39 age group and 75.8 p. cent in the 60-69 age group. The predicting value remains high however beyond 60 years: predicting value of 77 p. cent. Frank's sign is correlated neither with the gravity of the coronary disease, nor the duration of the angina, nor with any of the risk factors studied here: tobacco, hypercholesterolemia, arterial hypertension, diabetes, obesity. Frank's sign is therefore considered as a marker of the coronary disease, independent of risk factors but frequently associated with them. If its absence does not permit in any way to exclude the diagnosis of coronary disease, its presence corresponds in three quarters of the cases to an established coronary disease within a symptomatic population.

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The criteria for diagnosis of coronary artery disease is the presence of stenosis.

Anonymous said...

It's worth noting that the specificity and sensitivity of franks sign is lowest in orientals.