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Justin S. Smith, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Christine R. Baldus, Michael P. Kelly, Elizabeth L. Yanik, Jon D. Lurie, Christopher P. Ames, Shay Bess, Frank J. Schwab, and Keith H. Bridwell

OBJECTIVE

Although the health impact of adult symptomatic lumbar scoliosis (ASLS) is substantial, these patients often have other orthopedic problems that have not been previously quantified. The objective of this study was to assess disease burden of other orthopedic conditions in patients with ASLS based on a retrospective review of a prospective multicenter cohort.

METHODS

The ASLS-1 study is an NIH-sponsored prospective multicenter study designed to assess operative versus nonoperative treatment for ASLS. Patients were 40–80 years old with ASLS, defined as a lumbar coronal Cobb angle ≥ 30° and Oswestry Disability Index ≥ 20, or Scoliosis Research Society-22 questionnaire score ≤ 4.0 in pain, function, and/or self-image domains. Nonthoracolumbar orthopedic events, defined as fractures and other orthopedic conditions receiving surgical treatment, were assessed from enrollment to the 4-year follow-up.

RESULTS

Two hundred eighty-six patients (mean age 60.3 years, 90% women) were enrolled, with 173 operative and 113 nonoperative patients, and 81% with 4-year follow-up data. At a mean (± SD) follow-up of 3.8 ± 0.9 years, 104 nonthoracolumbar orthopedic events were reported, affecting 69 patients (24.1%). The most common events were arthroplasty (n = 38), fracture (n = 25), joint ligament/cartilage repair (n = 13), and cervical decompression/fusion (n = 7). Based on the final adjusted model, patients with a nonthoracolumbar orthopedic event were older (HR 1.44 per decade, 95% CI 1.07–1.94), more likely to have a history of tobacco use (HR 1.63, 95% CI 1.00–2.66), and had worse baseline leg pain scores (HR 1.10, 95% CI 1.01–1.19).

CONCLUSIONS

Patients with ASLS have high orthopedic disease burden, with almost 25% having a fracture or nonthoracolumbar orthopedic condition requiring surgical treatment during the mean 3.8 years following enrollment. Comparisons with previous studies suggest that the rate of total knee arthroplasty was considerably greater and the rates of total hip arthroplasty were at least as high in the ASLS-1 cohort compared with the similarly aged general US population. These conditions may further impact health-related quality of life and outcomes assessments of both nonoperative and operative treatment approaches in patients with ASLS.

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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.