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Justin S. Smith, Eric Klineberg, Virginie Lafage, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Frank Schwab, Renaud Lafage, Richard Hostin, Gregory M. Mundis Jr., Thomas J. Errico, Han Jo Kim, Themistocles S. Protopsaltis, D. Kojo Hamilton, Justin K. Scheer, Alex Soroceanu, Michael P. Kelly, Breton Line, Munish Gupta, Vedat Deviren, Robert Hart, Douglas C. Burton, Shay Bess, Christopher P. Ames and the International Spine Study Group

OBJECTIVE

Although multiple reports have documented significant benefit from surgical treatment of adult spinal deformity (ASD), these procedures can have high complication rates. Previously reported complications rates associated with ASD surgery are limited by retrospective design, single-surgeon or single-center cohorts, lack of rigorous data on complications, and/or limited follow-up. Accurate definition of complications associated with ASD surgery is important and may serve as a resource for patient counseling and efforts to improve the safety of patient care. The authors conducted a study to prospectively assess the rates of complications associated with ASD surgery with a minimum 2-year follow-up based on a multicenter study design that incorporated standardized data-collection forms, on-site study coordinators, and regular auditing of data to help ensure complete and accurate reporting of complications. In addition, they report age stratification of complication rates and provide a general assessment of factors that may be associated with the occurrence of complications.

METHODS

As part of a prospective, multicenter ASD database, standardized forms were used to collect data on surgery-related complications. On-site coordinators and central auditing helped ensure complete capture of complication data. Inclusion criteria were age older than 18 years, ASD, and plan for operative treatment. Complications were classified as perioperative (within 6 weeks of surgery) or delayed (between 6 weeks after surgery and time of last follow-up), and as minor or major. The primary focus for analyses was on patients who reached a minimum follow-up of 2 years.

RESULTS

Of 346 patients who met the inclusion criteria, 291 (84%) had a minimum 2-year follow-up (mean 2.1 years); their mean age was 56.2 years. The vast majority (99%) had treatment including a posterior procedure, 25% had an anterior procedure, and 19% had a 3-column osteotomy. At least 1 revision was required in 82 patients (28.2%). A total of 270 perioperative complications (145 minor; 125 major) were reported, with 152 patients (52.2%) affected, and a total of 199 delayed complications (62 minor; 137 major) were reported, with 124 patients (42.6%) affected. Overall, 469 complications (207 minor; 262 major) were documented, with 203 patients (69.8%) affected. The most common complication categories included implant related, radiographic, neurological, operative, cardiopulmonary, and infection. Higher complication rates were associated with older age (p = 0.009), greater body mass index (p ≤ 0.031), increased comorbidities (p ≤ 0.007), previous spine fusion (p = 0.029), and 3-column osteotomies (p = 0.036). Cases in which 2-year follow-up was not achieved included 2 perioperative mortalities (pulmonary embolus and inferior vena cava injury).

CONCLUSIONS

This study provides an assessment of complications associated with ASD surgery based on a prospective, multicenter design and with a minimum 2-year follow-up. Although the overall complication rates were high, in interpreting these findings, it is important to recognize that not all complications are equally impactful. This study represents one of the most complete and detailed reports of perioperative and delayed complications associated with ASD surgery to date. These findings may prove useful for treatment planning, patient counseling, benchmarking of complication rates, and efforts to improve the safety and cost-effectiveness of patient care.

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Justin K. Scheer, Peter G. Passias, Alexandra M. Sorocean, Anthony J. Boniello, Gregory M. Mundis Jr., Eric Klineberg, Han Jo Kim, Themistocles S. Protopsaltis, Munish Gupta, Shay Bess, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Frank Schwab, Virginie Lafage, Justin S. Smith, Christopher P. Ames and The International Spine Study Group

OBJECT

A high prevalence of cervical deformity (CD) has been identified among adult patients with thoracolumbar spinal deformity undergoing surgical treatment. The clinical impact of this is uncertain. This study aimed to quantify the differences in patient-reported outcomes among patients with adult spinal deformity (ASD) based on presence of CD prior to treatment.

METHODS

A retrospective review was conducted of a multicenter prospective database of patients with ASD who underwent surgical treatment with 2-year follow-up. Patients were grouped by the presence of preoperative CD: 1) cervical positive sagittal malalignment (CPSM) C2–7 sagittal vertical axis ≥ 4 cm; 2) cervical kyphosis (CK) C2–7 angle > 0; 3) CPSM and CK (BOTH); and 4) no baseline CD (NONE). Health-related quality of life (HRQOL) scores included the Physical Component Summary and Mental Component Summary (PCS and MCS) scores of the 36-Item Short Form Health Survey (SF-36), Oswestry Disability Index (ODI), Scoliosis Research Society-22 questionnaire (SRS-22), and minimum clinically important difference (MCID) of these scores at 2 years. Standard radiographic measurements were conducted for cervical, thoracic, and thoracolumbar parameters.

RESULTS

One hundred eighty-two patients were included in this study: CPSM, 45; CK, 37; BOTH, 16; and NONE, 84. Patients with preoperative CD and those without had similar baseline thoracolumbar radiographic measurements and similar correction rates at 2 years. Patients with and without preoperative CD had similar baseline HRQOL and on average both groups experienced some HRQOL improvement. However, those with preoperative CPSM had significantly worse postoperative ODI, PCS, SRS-22 Activity, SRS-22 Appearance, SRS-22 Pain, SRS-22 Satisfaction, and SRS-22 Total score, and were less likely to meet MCID for ODI, PCS, SRS-22 Activity, and SRS-22 Pain scores with the following ORs and 95% CIs: ODI 0.19 (0.07–0.58), PCS 0.17 (0.06–0.47), SRS-22 Activity 0.23 (0.09–0.62), SRS-22 Pain 0.20 (0.08–0.53), and SRS-22 Appearance 0.34 (0.12–0.94). Preoperative CK did not have an effect on outcomes. Interestingly, despite correction of the thoracolumbar deformity, 53.3% and 51.4% of patients had persistent CPSM and persistent CK, respectively.

CONCLUSIONS

Patients with thoracolumbar deformity without preoperative CD are likely to have greater improvements in HRQOL after surgery than patients with concomitant preoperative CD. Cervical positive sagittal alignment in adult patients with thoracolumbar deformity is strongly associated with inferior outcomes and failure to reach MCID at 2-year follow-up despite having similar baseline HRQOL to patients without CD. This was the first study to assess the impact of concomitant preoperative cervical malalignment in adult patients with thoracolumbar deformity. These results can help surgeons educate patients at risk for inferior outcomes and direct future research to identify an etiology and improve patient outcomes. Investigation into the etiology of the baseline cervical malalignment may be warranted in patients who present with thoracolumbar deformity.

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Michael P. Kelly, Lukas P. Zebala, Han Jo Kim, Daniel M. Sciubba, Justin S. Smith, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Shay Bess, Eric Klineberg, Gregory Mundis Jr., Douglas Burton, Robert Hart, Alex Soroceanu, Frank Schwab, Virginie Lafage and International Spine Study Group

OBJECT

The goal of this study was to examine the effectiveness of preoperative autologous blood donation (PABD) in adult spinal deformity (ASD) surgery.

METHODS

Patients undergoing single-stay ASD reconstructions were identified in a multicenter database. Patients were divided into groups according to PABD (either PABD or NoPABD). Propensity weighting was used to create matched cohorts of PABD and NoPABD patients. Allogeneic (ALLO) exposure, autologous (AUTO) wastage (unused AUTO), and complication rates were compared between groups.

RESULTS

Four hundred twenty-eight patients were identified as meeting eligibility criteria. Sixty patients were treated with PABD, of whom 50 were matched to 50 patients who were not treated with PABD (NoPABD). Nearly one-third of patients in the PABD group (18/60, 30%) did not receive any autologous transfusion and donated blood was wasted. In 6 of these cases (6/60, 10%), patients received ALLO blood transfusions without AUTO. In 9 cases (9/60, 15%), patients received ALLO and AUTO blood transfusions. Overall rates of transfusion of any type were similar between groups (PABD 70% [42/60], NoPABD 75% [275/368], p = 0.438). Major and minor in-hospital complications were similar between groups (Major PABD 10% [6/60], NoPABD 12% [43/368], p = 0.537; Minor PABD 30% [18/60], NoPABD 24% [87/368], p = 0.499). When controlling for potential confounders, PABD patients were more likely to receive some transfusion (OR 15.1, 95% CI 2.1-106.7). No relationship between PABD and ALLO blood exposure was observed, however, refuting the concept that PABD is protective against ALLO blood exposure. In the matched cohorts, PABD patients were more likely to sustain a major perioperative cardiac complication (PABD 8/50 [16%], NoPABD 1/50 [2%], p = 0.046). No differences in rates of infection or wound-healing complications were observed between cohorts.

CONCLUSIONS

Preoperative autologous blood donation was associated with a higher probability of perioperative transfusions of any type in patients with ASD. No protective effect of PABD against ALLO blood exposure was observed, and no risk of perioperative infectious complications was observed in patients exposed to ALLO blood only. The benefit of PABD in patients with ASD remains undefined.

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Christopher P. Ames, Justin S. Smith, Robert Eastlack, Donald J. Blaskiewicz, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Frank Schwab, Shay Bess, Han Jo Kim, Gregory M. Mundis Jr., Eric Klineberg, Munish Gupta, Michael O’Brien, Richard Hostin, Justin K. Scheer, Themistocles S. Protopsaltis, Kai-Ming G. Fu, Robert Hart, Todd J. Albert, K. Daniel Riew, Michael G. Fehlings, Vedat Deviren, Virginie Lafage and International Spine Study Group

OBJECT

Despite the complexity of cervical spine deformity (CSD) and its significant impact on patient quality of life, there exists no comprehensive classification system. The objective of this study was to develop a novel classification system based on a modified Delphi approach and to characterize the intra- and interobserver reliability of this classification.

METHODS

Based on an extensive literature review and a modified Delphi approach with an expert panel, a CSD classification system was generated. The classification system included a deformity descriptor and 5 modifiers that incorporated sagittal, regional, and global spinopelvic alignment and neurological status. The descriptors included: “C,” “CT,” and “T” for primary cervical kyphotic deformities with an apex in the cervical spine, cervicothoracic junction, or thoracic spine, respectively; “S” for primary coronal deformity with a coronal Cobb angle ≥ 15°; and “CVJ” for primary craniovertebral junction deformity. The modifiers included C2–7 sagittal vertical axis (SVA), horizontal gaze (chin-brow to vertical angle [CBVA]), T1 slope (TS) minus C2–7 lordosis (TS–CL), myelopathy (modified Japanese Orthopaedic Association [mJOA] scale score), and the Scoliosis Research Society (SRS)-Schwab classification for thoracolumbar deformity. Application of the classification system requires the following: 1) full-length standing posteroanterior (PA) and lateral spine radiographs that include the cervical spine and femoral heads; 2) standing PA and lateral cervical spine radiographs; 3) completed and scored mJOA questionnaire; and 4) a clinical photograph or radiograph that includes the skull for measurement of the CBVA. A series of 10 CSD cases, broadly representative of the classification system, were selected and sufficient radiographic and clinical history to enable classification were assembled. A panel of spinal deformity surgeons was queried to classify each case twice, with a minimum of 1 intervening week. Inter- and intrarater reliability measures were based on calculations of Fleiss k coefficient values.

RESULTS

Twenty spinal deformity surgeons participated in this study. Interrater reliability (Fleiss k coefficients) for the deformity descriptor rounds 1 and 2 were 0.489 and 0.280, respectively, and mean intrarater reliability was 0.584. For the modifiers, including the SRS-Schwab components, the interrater (round 1/round 2) and intrarater reliabilities (Fleiss k coefficients) were: C2–7 SVA (0.338/0.412, 0.584), horizontal gaze (0.779/0.430, 0.768), TS-CL (0.721/0.567, 0.720), myelopathy (0.602/0.477, 0.746), SRS-Schwab curve type (0.590/0.433, 0.564), pelvic incidence-lumbar lordosis (0.554/0.386, 0.826), pelvic tilt (0.714/0.627, 0.633), and C7-S1 SVA (0.071/0.064, 0.233), respectively. The parameter with the poorest reliability was the C7–S1 SVA, which may have resulted from differences in interpretation of positive and negative measurements.

CONCLUSIONS

The proposed classification provides a mechanism to assess CSD within the framework of global spinopelvic malalignment and clinically relevant parameters. The intra- and interobserver reliabilities suggest moderate agreement and serve as the basis for subsequent improvement and study of the proposed classification.

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Dominic Maggio, Tamir T. Ailon, Justin S. Smith, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Virginie Lafage, Frank Schwab, Regis W. Haid Jr., Themistocles Protopsaltis, Eric Klineberg, Justin K. Scheer, Shay Bess, Paul M. Arnold, Jens Chapman, Michael G. Fehlings, Christopher Ames, AOSpine North America and International Spine Study Group

OBJECT

The associations among global spinal alignment, patient-reported disability, and surgical outcomes have increasingly gained attention. The assessment of global spinal alignment requires standing long-cassette anteroposterior and lateral radiographs; however, spine surgeons routinely rely only on short-segment imaging when evaluating seemingly isolated lumbar pathology. This may prohibit adequate surgical planning and may predispose surgeons to not recognize associated pathology in the thoracic spine and sagittal spinopelvic malalignment. The authors used a case-based survey questionnaire to evaluate if including long-cassette radiographs led to changes to respondents' operative plans as compared with their chosen plan when cases contained standard imaging of the involved lumbar spine only.

METHODS

A case-based survey was distributed to AOSpine International members that consisted of 15 cases of lumbar spine pathology and lumbar imaging only. The same 15 cases were then shuffled and presented a second time with additional long-cassette radiographs. Each case required participants to select a single operative plan with 5 choices ranging from least to most extensive. The cases included 5 “control” cases with normal global spinal alignment and 10 “test” cases with significant sagittal and/or coronal malalignment. Mean scores were determined for each question with higher scores representing more invasive and/or extensive operative plans.

RESULTS

Of 712 spine surgeons who started the survey, 316 (44%) completed the entire series, including 68% of surgeons with spine fellowship training and representation from more than 40 countries. For test cases, but not for control cases, there were significantly higher average surgical invasiveness scores for cases presented with long-cassette radiographs (4.2) as compared with those cases with lumbar imaging only (3.4; p = 0.002). The addition of long-cassette radiographs resulted in 82.1% of respondents recommending instrumentation up to the thoracic spine, a 23.2% increase as compared with the same cases presented with lumbar imaging only (p = 0.008).

CONCLUSIONS

This study demonstrates the importance of maintaining a low threshold for performing standing long-cassette imaging when assessing seemingly isolated lumbar pathology. Such imaging is necessary for the assessment of spinopelvic and global spinal alignment, which can be important in operative planning. Deformity, particularly positive sagittal malalignment, may go undetected unless one maintains a high index of suspicion and obtains long-cassette radiographs. It is recommended that spine surgeons recognize the prevalence and importance of such deformity when contemplating operative intervention.

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Alex Soroceanu, Douglas C. Burton, Bassel Georges Diebo, Justin S. Smith, Richard Hostin, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Oheneba Boachie-Adjei, Gregory M. Mundis Jr., Christopher Ames, Thomas J. Errico, Shay Bess, Munish C. Gupta, Robert A. Hart, Frank J. Schwab, Virginie Lafage and International Spine Study Group

OBJECT

Adult spinal deformity (ASD) surgery is known for its high complication rate. This study examined the impact of obesity on complication rates, infection, and patient-reported outcomes in patients undergoing surgery for ASD.

METHODS

This study was a retrospective review of a multicenter prospective database of patients with ASD who were treated surgically. Patients with available 2-year follow-up data were included. Obesity was defined as having a body mass index (BMI) ≥ 30 kg/m2. Data collected included complications (total, minor, major, implant-related, radiographic, infection, revision surgery, and neurological injury), estimated blood loss (EBL), operating room (OR) time, length of stay (LOS), and patient-reported questionnaires (Oswestry Disability Index [ODI], Short Form-36 [SF-36], and Scoliosis Research Society [SRS]) at baseline and at 6 weeks, 1 year, and 2 years postoperatively. The impact of obesity was studied using multivariate modeling, accounting for confounders.

RESULTS

Of 241 patients who satisfied inclusion criteria, 175 patients were nonobese and 66 were obese. Regression models showed that obese patients had a higher overall incidence of major complications (IRR 1.54, p = 0.02) and wound infections (odds ratio 4.88, p = 0.02). Obesity did not increase the number of minor complications (p = 0.62), radiographic complications (p = 0.62), neurological complications (p = 0.861), or need for revision surgery (p = 0.846). Obesity was not significantly correlated with OR time (p = 0.23), LOS (p = 0.9), or EBL (p = 0.98). Both groups experienced significant improvement overtime, as measured on the ODI (p = 0.0001), SF-36 (p = 0.0001), and SRS (p = 0.0001) questionnaires. However, the overall magnitude of improvement was less for obese patients (ODI, p = 0.0035; SF-36, p = 0.0012; SRS, p = 0.022). Obese patients also had a lower rate of improvement over time (SRS, p = 0.0085; ODI, p = 0.0001; SF-36, p = 0.0001).

CONCLUSIONS

This study revealed that obese patients have an increased risk of complications following ASD correction. Despite these increased complications, obese patients do benefit from surgical intervention; however, their improvement in health-related quality of life (HRQL) is less than that of nonobese patients.

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Justin S. Smith, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Virginie Lafage, Frank Schwab, Justin K. Scheer, Themistocles Protopsaltis, Eric Klineberg, Munish Gupta, Richard Hostin, Kai-Ming G. Fu, Gregory M. Mundis Jr., Han Jo Kim, Vedat Deviren, Alex Soroceanu, Robert A. Hart, Douglas C. Burton, Shay Bess, Christopher P. Ames and the International Spine Study Group

OBJECT

Although recent studies suggest that average clinical outcomes are improved following surgery for selected adult spinal deformity (ASD) patients, these outcomes span a broad range. Few studies have specifically addressed factors that may predict favorable clinical outcomes. The objective of this study was to compare patients with ASD with best versus worst clinical outcomes following surgical treatment to identify distinguishing factors that may prove useful for patient counseling and optimization of clinical outcomes.

METHODS

This is a retrospective review of a prospectively collected, multicenter, database of consecutively enrolled patients with ASD who were treated operatively. Inclusion criteria were age > 18 years and ASD. For patients with a minimum of 2-year follow-up, those with best versus worst outcomes were compared separately based on Scoliosis Research Society-22 (SRS-22) and Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) scores. Only patients with a baseline SRS-22 ≤ 3.5 or ODI ≥ 30 were included to minimize ceiling/floor effects. Best and worst outcomes were defined for SRS-22 (≥ 4.5 and ≤ 2.5, respectively) and ODI (≤ 15 and ≥ 50, respectively).

RESULTS

Of 257 patients who met the inclusion criteria, 227 (88%) had complete baseline and 2-year follow-up SRS-22 and ODI outcomes scores and radiographic imaging and were analyzed in the present study. Of these 227 patients, 187 had baseline SRS-22 scores ≤ 3.5, and 162 had baseline ODI scores ≥ 30. Forthe SRS-22, best and worst outcomes criteria were met at follow-up for 25 and 27 patients, respectively. For the ODI, best and worst outcomes criteria were met at follow-up for 43 and 51 patients, respectively. With respect to the SRS-22, compared with best outcome patients, those with worst outcomes had higher baseline SRS-22 scores (p < 0.0001), higher prevalence of baseline depression (p < 0.001), more comorbidities (p = 0.012), greater prevalence of prior surgery (p = 0.007), a higher complication rate (p = 0.012), and worse baseline deformity (sagittal vertical axis [SVA], p = 0.045; pelvic incidence [PI] and lumbar lordosis [LL] mismatch, p = 0.034). The best-fit multivariate model for SRS-22 included baseline SRS-22 (p = 0.033), baseline depression (p = 0.012), and complications (p = 0.030). With respect to the ODI, compared with best outcome patients, those with worst outcomes had greater baseline ODI scores (p < 0.001), greater baseline body mass index (BMI; p = 0.002), higher prevalence of baseline depression (p < 0.028), greater baseline SVA (p = 0.016), a higher complication rate (p = 0.02), and greater 2-year SVA (p < 0.001) and PI-LL mismatch (p = 0.042). The best-fit multivariate model for ODI included baseline ODI score (p < 0.001), 2-year SVA (p = 0.014) and baseline BMI (p = 0.037). Age did not distinguish best versus worst outcomes for SRS-22 or ODI (p > 0.1).

CONCLUSIONS

Few studies have specifically addressed factors that distinguish between the best versus worst clinical outcomes for ASD surgery. In this study, baseline and perioperative factors distinguishing between the best and worst outcomes for ASD surgery included several patient factors (baseline depression, BMI, comorbidities, and disability), as well as residual deformity (SVA), and occurrence of complications. These findings suggest factors that may warrant greater awareness among clinicians to achieve optimal surgical outcomes for patients with ASD.

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Shayan Fakurnejad, Justin K. Scheer, Virginie Lafage, Justin S. Smith, Vedat Deviren, Richard Hostin, Gregory M. Mundis Jr., Douglas C. Burton, Eric Klineberg, Munish Gupta, Khaled Kebaish, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Shay Bess, Frank Schwab, Christopher P. Ames and The International Spine Study Group

OBJECT

Three-column osteotomies (3COs) are technically challenging techniques for correcting severe rigid spinal deformities. The impact of these interventions on outcomes reaching minimum clinically important difference (MCID) or substantial clinical benefit (SCB) is unclear. The objective of this study was to determine the rates of MCID and SCB in standard health-related quality of life (HRQOL) measures after 3COs in patients with adult spinal deformity (ASD). The impacts of location of the uppermost instrumented vertebra (UIV) on clinical outcomes and of maintenance on sagittal correction at 2 years postoperatively were also examined.

METHODS

The authors conducted a retrospective multicenter analysis of the records from adult patients who underwent 3CO with complete 2-year radiographic and clinical follow-ups. Cases were categorized according to established radiographic thresholds for pelvic tilt (> 22°), sagittal vertical axis (> 4.7 cm), and the mismatch between pelvic incidence and lumbar lordosis (> 11°). The cases were also analyzed on the basis of a UIV in the upper thoracic (T1–6) or thoracolumbar (T9–L1) region. Patient-reported outcome measures evaluated preoperatively and 2 years postoperatively included Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) scores, the Physical Component Summary and Mental Component Summary (MCS) scores of the 36-Item Short Form Health Survey, and Scoliosis Research Society-22 questionnaire (SRS-22) scores. The percentages of patients whose outcomes for these measures met MCID and SCB were compared among the groups.

RESULTS

Data from 140 patients (101 women and 39 men) were included in the analysis; the average patient age was 57.3 ± 12.4 years (range 20–82 years). Of these patients, 94 had undergone only pedicle subtraction osteotomy (PSO) and 42 only vertebral column resection (VCR); 113 patients had a UIV in the upper thoracic (n = 63) orthoracolumbar region (n = 50). On average, 2 years postoperatively the patients had significantly improved in all HRQOL measures except the MCS score. For the entire patient cohort, the improvements ranged from 57.6% for the SRS-22 pain score MCID to 24.4% for the ODI score SCB. For patients undergoing PSO or VCR, the likelihood of their outcomes reaching MCID or SCB ranged from 24.3% to 62.3% and from 16.2% to 47.8%, respectively. The SRS-22 self-image score of patients who had a UIV in the upper thoracic region reached MCID significantly more than that of patients who had a UIV in the thoracolumbar region (70.6% vs 41.9%, p = 0.0281). All other outcomes were similar for UIVs of upper thoracic and thoracolumbar regions. Comparison of patients whose spines were above or below the radiographic thresholds associated with disability indicated similar rates of meeting MCID and SCB for HRQOL at the 2-year follow-up.

CONCLUSIONS

Outcomes for patients having UIVs in the upper thoracic region were no more likely to meet MCID or SCB than for those having UIVs in the thoracolumbar region, except for the MCID in the SRS-22 self-image measure. The HRQOL outcomes in patients who had optimal sagittal correction according to radiographic thresholds determined preoperatively were not significantly more likely to reach MCID or SCB at the 2-year follow-up. Future work needs to determine whether the Schwab preoperative radiographic thresholds for severe disability apply in postoperative settings.

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Themistocles S. Protopsaltis, Justin K. Scheer, Jamie S. Terran, Justin S. Smith, D. Kojo Hamilton, Han Jo Kim, Greg M. Mundis Jr., Robert A. Hart, Ian M. McCarthy, Eric Klineberg, Virginie Lafage, Shay Bess, Frank Schwab, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Christopher P. Ames and International Spine Study Group

OBJECT

Regional cervical sagittal alignment (C2–7 sagittal vertical axis [SVA]) has been shown to correlate with health-related quality of life (HRQOL). The study objective was to examine the relationship between cervical and thoracolumbar alignment parameters with HRQOL among patients with operative and nonoperative adult thoracolumbar deformity.

METHODS

This is a multicenter prospective data collection of consecutive patients with adult thoracolumbar spinal deformity. Clinical measures of disability included the Oswestry Disability Index (ODI), Scoliosis Research Society-22 Patient Questionnaire (SRS-22), and 36-Item Short-Form Health Survey (SF-36). Cervical radiographic parameters were correlated with global sagittal parameters within the nonoperative and operative cohorts. A partial correlation analysis was performed controlling for C-7 SVA. The operative group was subanalyzed by the magnitude of global deformity (C-7 SVA ≥ 5 cm vs < 5 cm).

RESULTS

A total of 318 patients were included (186 operative and 132 nonoperative). The mean age was 55.4 ± 14.9 years. Operative patients had significantly worse baseline HRQOL and significantly larger C-7 SVA, pelvic tilt (PT), mismatch between pelvic incidence and lumbar lordosis (PI-LL), and C2-7 SVA. The operative patients with baseline C-7 SVA ≥ 5 cm had significantly larger C2-7 lordosis (CL), C2-7 SVA, C-7 SVA, PI-LL, and PT than patients with a normal C-7 SVA. For all patients, baseline C2-7 SVA and CL significantly correlated with baseline ODI, Physical Component Summary (PCS), SRS Activity domain, and SRS Appearance domain. Baseline C2-7 SVA also correlated with SRS Pain and SRS Total. For the operative patients with baseline C-7 SVA ≥ 5 cm, the 2-year C2-7 SVA significantly correlated with 2-year Mental Component Summary, SRS Mental, SRS Satisfaction, and decreases in ODI. Decreases in C2-7 SVA at 2 years significantly correlated with lower ODI at 2 years. Using partial correlations while controlling for C-7 SVA, the C2-7 SVA correlated significantly with baseline ODI (r = 0.211, p = 0.002), PCS (r = −0.178, p = 0.009), and SRS Activity (r = −0.145, p = 0.034) for the entire cohort. In the subset of operative patients with larger thoracolumbar deformities, the change in C2-7 SVA correlated with change in ODI (r = −0.311, p = 0.03).

CONCLUSIONS

Changes in cervical lordosis correlate to HRQOL improvements in thoracolumbar deformity patients at 2-year follow-up. Regional cervical sagittal parameters such as CL and C2–7 SVA are correlated with clinical measures of regional disability and health status in patients with adult thoracolumbar scoliosis. This effect may be direct or a reciprocal effect of the underlying global deformities on regional cervical alignment. However, the partial correlation analysis, controlling for the magnitude of the thoracolumbar deformity, suggests that there is a direct effect of cervical alignment on health measures. Improvements in regional cervical alignment postoperatively correlated positively with improved HRQOL.