To quantify the respiratory compromise in patients with a congenital kyphosis or kyphoscoliosis in whom the major deformity is the kyphosis.
Forty-one patients with congenital vertebral anomalies resulting in a kyphosis or kyphoscoliosis, in which the kyphosis was the major deformity, and requiring spine surgery were studied retrospectively. The preoperative respiratory function and radiographic spinal assessments were compared.
Twenty-two patients (54%) had an impairment of respiratory function: 2 patients (5%) were severely affected, 8 patients (20%) were moderately affected, and 12 patients (29%) were mildly affected.
An increasing severity of kyphosis was associated with a significant increase in respiratory impairment (P<0.005). A more cranial level of the kyphosis, especially above T10, had a significantly greater effect on respiratory impairment (P<0.001). One untreated patient with a severe kyphosis (128 degrees) died from cor pulmonale.