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Elizabeth L. Yanik, Michael P. Kelly, Jon D. Lurie, Christine R. Baldus, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Frank J. Schwab, Shay Bess, Lawrence G. Lenke, Adam LaBore, and Keith H. Bridwell

OBJECTIVE

Adult symptomatic lumbar scoliosis (ASLS) is a common and disabling condition. The ASLS-1 was a multicenter, dual-arm study (with randomized and observational cohorts) examining operative and nonoperative care on health-related quality of life in ASLS. An aim of ASLS-1 was to determine patient and radiographic factors that modify the effect of operative treatment for ASLS.

METHODS

Patients 40–80 years old with ASLS were enrolled in randomized and observational cohorts at 9 North American centers. Primary outcomes were the differences in mean change from baseline to 2-year follow-up for the SRS-22 subscore (SRS-SS) and the Oswestry Disability Index (ODI). Analyses were performed using an as-treated approach with combined cohorts. Factors examined were prespecified or determined using regression tree analysis. For each potential effect modifier, subgroups were created using clinically relevant cutoffs or via regression trees. Estimates of within-group and between-group change were compared using generalized linear mixed models. An effect modifier was defined as a treatment effect difference greater than the minimal detectable measurement difference for both SRS-SS (0.4) and ODI (7).

RESULTS

Two hundred eighty-six patients were enrolled and 256 (90%) completed 2-year follow-up; 171 received operative treatment and 115 received nonoperative treatment. Surgery was superior to nonoperative care for all effect subgroups considered, with the exception of those with nearly normal pelvic incidence−lumbar lordosis (PI–LL) match (≤ 11°). Male patients and patients with more (> 11°) PI–LL mismatch at baseline had greater operative treatment effects on both the SRS-SS and ODI compared to nonoperative treatment. No other radiographic subgroups were associated with treatment effects. High BMI, lower socioeconomic status, and poor mental health were not related to worse outcomes.

CONCLUSIONS

Numerous factors previously related to poor outcomes with surgery, such as low mental health, lower socioeconomic status, and high BMI, were not related to outcomes in ASLS in this exploratory analysis. Those patients with higher PI–LL mismatch did improve more with surgery than those with normal alignment. On average, none of the factors considered were associated with a worse outcome with operative treatment versus nonoperative treatment. These findings may guide future prospective analyses of factors related to outcomes in ASLS care.

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Justin S. Smith, Michael P. Kelly, Elizabeth L. Yanik, Christine R. Baldus, Thomas J. Buell, Jon D. Lurie, Charles Edwards, Steven D. Glassman, Lawrence G. Lenke, Oheneba Boachie-Adjei, Jacob M. Buchowski, Leah Y. Carreon, Charles H. Crawford III, Thomas J. Errico, Stephen J. Lewis, Tyler Koski, Stefan Parent, Virginie Lafage, Han Jo Kim, Christopher P. Ames, Shay Bess, Frank J. Schwab, Christopher I Shaffrey, and Keith H Bridwell

OBJECTIVE

Although short-term adult symptomatic lumbar scoliosis (ASLS) studies favor operative over nonoperative treatment, longer outcomes are critical for assessment of treatment durability, especially for operative treatment, because the majority of implant failures and nonunions present between 2 and 5 years after surgery. The objectives of this study were to assess the durability of treatment outcomes for operative versus nonoperative treatment of ASLS, to report the rates and types of associated serious adverse events (SAEs), and to determine the potential impact of treatment-related SAEs on outcomes.

METHODS

The ASLS-1 (Adult Symptomatic Lumbar Scoliosis–1) trial is an NIH-sponsored multicenter prospective study to assess operative versus nonoperative ASLS treatment. Patients were 40–80 years of age and had ASLS (Cobb angle ≥ 30° and Oswestry Disability Index [ODI] ≥ 20 or Scoliosis Research Society [SRS]–22 subscore ≤ 4.0 in the Pain, Function, and/or Self-Image domains). Patients receiving operative and nonoperative treatment were compared using as-treated analysis, and the impact of related SAEs was assessed. Primary outcome measures were ODI and SRS-22.

RESULTS

The 286 patients with ASLS (107 with nonoperative treatment, 179 with operative treatment) had 2-year and 5-year follow-up rates of 90% (n = 256) and 74% (n = 211), respectively. At 5 years, compared with patients treated nonoperatively, those who underwent surgery had greater improvement in ODI (mean difference −15.2 [95% CI −18.7 to −11.7]) and SRS-22 subscore (mean difference 0.63 [95% CI 0.48–0.78]) (p < 0.001), with treatment effects (TEs) exceeding the minimum detectable measurement difference (MDMD) for ODI (7) and SRS-22 subscore (0.4). TEs at 5 years remained as favorable as 2-year TEs (ODI −13.9, SRS-22 0.52). For patients in the operative group, the incidence rates of treatment-related SAEs during the first 2 years and 2–5 years after surgery were 22.38 and 8.17 per 100 person-years, respectively. At 5 years, patients in the operative group who had 1 treatment-related SAE still had significantly greater improvement, with TEs (ODI −12.2, SRS-22 0.53; p < 0.001) exceeding the MDMD. Twelve patients who received surgery and who had 2 or more treatment-related SAEs had greater improvement than nonsurgically treated patients based on ODI (TE −8.34, p = 0.017) and SRS-22 (TE 0.32, p = 0.029), but the SRS-22 TE did not exceed the MDMD.

CONCLUSIONS

The significantly greater improvement of operative versus nonoperative treatment for ASLS at 2 years was durably maintained at the 5-year follow-up. Patients in the operative cohort with a treatment-related SAE still had greater improvement than patients in the nonoperative cohort. These findings have important implications for patient counseling and future cost-effectiveness assessments.