How Comprehensive and Efficient Are Patient-Reported Outcomes for Rotator Cuff Tears?

Orthop J Sports Med. 2017 Mar 9;5(3):2325967117693223. doi: 10.1177/2325967117693223. eCollection 2017 Mar.


Background: Increasing emphasis is placed on patient-reported outcomes (PROs) after common orthopaedic procedures as a measure of quality. When considering PRO utilization in patients with rotator cuff tears, several different PROs exist with varying levels of accuracy and utilization.

Hypothesis/purpose: Understanding which disease-specific PRO may be most efficiently administered in patients after rotator cuff repair may assist in promoting increased patient and physician adoption of these useful scores. Using a novel assessment criterion, this study assessed all commonly used rotator cuff PROs. We hypothesize that surveys with fewer numbers of questions may remain comparable (with regard to comprehensiveness) to longer surveys.

Study design: Systematic review.

Methods: Commonly utilized rotator cuff PROs were analyzed with regard to number of survey components, comprehensiveness, and efficiency. Comprehensiveness (maximum score, 11) was scored as the total number of pain (at rest/baseline, night/sleep, activities of daily living [ADLs], sport, and work) and functional (strength, motion/stiffness, and ability to perform ADLs, sport, and work) metrics included, along with inclusion of quality of life/satisfaction metrics. Efficiency was calculated as comprehensiveness divided by the number of survey components.

Results: Sixteen different PROs were studied. Number of components ranged from 5 (University of California at Los Angeles score [UCLA]) to 36 (Short Form-36 [SF-36], Japanese Orthopaedic Association score [JOA]). The Quality of Life Outcome Measure for Rotator Cuff Disease (RC-QoL) included all 5 pain components, while 7 PROs contained all 5 functional components. Ten PROs included a quality of life/satisfaction component. The most comprehensive scores were the RC-QoL (score, 11) and Penn (score, 10), and the least comprehensive score was the Marx (score, 3). The most efficient PROs were the UCLA, the Quick Disabilities of the Arm, Shoulder, and Hand score (QuickDASH), and Constant scores. The least efficient scores were the JOA and SF-36 scores.

Conclusion: Many commonly utilized PROs for rotator cuff tears are lacking in comprehensiveness and efficiency. Continued critical assessment of PRO quality may help practitioners identify the most comprehensive and efficient PRO to incorporate into daily clinical practice.

Keywords: health care quality; patient-reported outcomes; rotator cuff tear.

Publication types

  • Review