Pre- and postoperative evaluation of function and activity in patients with paralytic scoliosis

University dissertation from Linköping : Linköping University Electronic Press

Abstract: This thesis evaluates surgical correction in patients with paralytic scoliosis with emphasis on function and activity. The thesis includes four studies of 100 consecutive patients preoperatively evaluated and surgically corrected between 1992 and 1996 at Linköping University Hospital. Eighteen different diagnoses were represented. The postoperative follow-ups were at one year and in average seven years. Six patients dropped out during the first year and twelve during the long-term follow-up period. The assessments included general information, lung function, and measurements of radiographs, function and activity - seating posture, ADL, pain, care and need for rest. The patients or relatives view on the effects of surgery were evaluated in follow-up questionnaires.The preoperative results of the 100 patients described a heterogeneous group in terms of function and activity. Even when the patients were grouped into subgroups according to the Scoliosis Research Society classification, they remained heterogeneous. In patients who could understand verbal instructions assessments that needed co-operation could be used and in those who could not understand verbal instructions, assessments relied more heavily on measures of function and level of dependence. Preoperative results of weight distribution on the seating surface were explained by thoracolumbar/lumbar spinal imbalance and pelvic obliquity R2=0.45 (n=45).The one-year follow-up of 94 patients showed improvements in angle of scoliosis, sitting balance, weight distribution to the seating surface, seating supports in the wheelchair, time needed for rest. The results in subgroups were almost the same as in the whole group. The subjective results for patients or relatives in the follow-up questionnaire showed a positive outcome of surgery. In the comparison between the one-year follow-up and the long-term follow-up there were further improvements in sitting balance, ADL, and care given, but the angle of scoliosis was increased. These results were in line with patients’ and relatives’ assessments in the follow-up questionnaire and in the open-ended questions.Due to the heterogeneity of patients with paralytic scoliosis, irrespective of disorder, it is important to focus on different subgroups with regards to the patients’ total situation. The surgically corrected and stabilised spine resulted in the strength to keep the body upright with improvements in function, activity and possibilities to belong in social activities. Further improvements were shown between the one-year follow-up and the long-term follow-up. It is recommended that patients who have been surgically corrected for paralytic scoliosis are followed for more than one year.