Radiographic Axial Malalignment is Associated With Pretreatment Patient-Reported Health-Related Quality of Life Measures in Adult Degenerative Scoliosis: Implementation of a Novel Radiographic Software Tool

Spine Deform. Nov-Dec 2018;6(6):745-752. doi: 10.1016/j.jspd.2018.03.011.


Study design: Retrospective study of prospectively collected data.

Objectives: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the relationship between apical vertebral axial rotation and pretreatment patient-reported health-related quality of life (HRQOL), disability, and pain in patients with adult degenerative scoliosis (ADS) using a novel radiographic software tool.

Summary of background data: Recent studies have demonstrated that in ADS, sagittal and coronal plane deformity are weakly to moderately associated with HRQOL, disability, and pain. However, as ADS is a three-dimensional spinal deformity, the impact of axial malalignment on HRQOL is yet to be determined.

Methods: A total of 74 ADS patients were enrolled. HRQOL measures included the Short Form-36v2 (SF-36v2) and Scoliosis Research Society questionnaire (SRS-22r). Disability and pain measures included the Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) and numeric rating scale back and leg pain. Radiographic measures included Cobb angle (CA), sagittal spinopelvic parameters, lateral and anteroposterior (AP) translation of the apical vertebra. The amount of apical vertebral axial rotation was measured on digital AP radiograph images using a novel software technology. Subjects were stratified into four clinical groups based on the degree of apical vertebral axial rotation.

Results: Apical vertebral axial rotation showed no association with lateral (r = 0.21; p = .15) and AP (r = 0.08, p = .80) translation of the apical vertebra. A significant moderate association was found between apical vertebral axial rotation and Cobb angle (r = 0.57; p < .05). Patients in the group with the highest degree of apical vertebral axial rotation reported significantly worse ODI and SRS-22r Subtotal and Pain scores (p < .05), irrespective of sagittal spinopelvic parameters.

Conclusions: This is the first study that reports on the association between apical vertebral axial rotation and pretreatment HRQOL, disability, and pain in ADS. This study suggests that increased apical vertebral axial rotation is associated with suboptimal pretreatment health status scores.

Level of evidence: Level III.

Keywords: Adult degenerative scoliosis; Apical vertebral axial rotation; Axial malalignment; Health-related quality of life; Patient-reported.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Quality of Life*
  • Radiography
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Scoliosis / diagnostic imaging*
  • Software