Increasing utilization of the TWIST score in workup of patients with acute scrotal pain: Role in diagnosis and risk stratification

Published:September 27, 2022DOI:



      The TWIST score is a 5-component physical examination score used to aid in diagnosis of testicular torsion (TT) and could lessen need for radiologic testing in certain clinical scenarios.


      TWIST use was not previously widespread at our institution. The primary objective of this quality improvement study was to achieve 100% compliance in TWIST utilization among urology and ED residents and to assess for score concordance between ED and urology assessments. Secondary goals were correlation of TWIST components with need for orchiectomy.


      ED staff were educated about the TWIST score and asked to complete assessment for patients presenting with acute scrotal pain. Simultaneously, an electronic medical record-based dot phrase was introduced for urology trainees to complete an independent TWIST evaluation. Spearman correlation was performed to assess association between ED and Urology TWIST scores. Multivariable logistic regression was performed to assess association of TWIST score components and need for orchiectomy.


      103 patients presented to the ED from 3/2018–11/2020 with a complaint of acute scrotal pain; 47 were diagnosed with torsion. As compared to our retrospective cohort, the documentation rate of complete TWIST score components on exam rose from 9% to 98% (P < 0.001) on ED evaluation and 16%–66% on urology evaluation (P < 0.001). Rates of repeat ultrasound for patient’s transferred between facilities was similar (58% vs. 63%; p = 0.66) as was median time to OR (160 min vs. 145 min; p = 0.5). Using TWIST cutoff of >5 yielded a specificity of 94.5% for diagnosis of torsion, with corresponding strong correlation between ED and urology scores (rho = 0.71). A firm testicle was noted on urology evaluation in 100% of orchiectomy patients (vs. 61% of salvage patients) with persistent association after controlling for duration of symptoms (OR 28.1; P = 0.016).


      Through two-pronged quality improvement efforts, we significantly improved utilization of the TWIST score by ED and urology staff for workup of patients with acute testicular pain. We confirmed the high sensitivity and specificity of the TWIST score and demonstrated inter-rater reliability between ED and urology assessments. On prospective analysis, testicular firmness on exam was predictive of need for orchiectomy.


      Summary Figure
      Graphical AbstractTWIST Component Physical Examination findings stratified by need for orchiectomy at time of surgery for children presenting with testicular torsion following introduction of TWIST score into practice. N is the number of non-missing values. Counts expressed as N (%). Tests used: 1Fisher’s Exact or Chi-Squared test 2Wilcoxon test.


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