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Quality of Life in Males and Females With Idiopathic Scoliosis

Diarbakerli, Elias, PT, MSc∗,†; Grauers, Anna, MD, PhD∗,‡; Danielsson, Aina, MD, PhD§,¶; Abbott, Allan, PT, PhD||; Gerdhem, Paul, MD, PhD∗,†

doi: 10.1097/BRS.0000000000002857

Study Design. Cross-sectional.

Objective. To describe quality of life in males and females with idiopathic scoliosis.

Summary of Background Data. Idiopathic scoliosis is a three-dimensional deformity affecting the growing spine. The prevalence of larger curves, requiring treatment, is higher in females.

Methods. This cross-sectional study comprised 1519 individuals with idiopathic scoliosis (211 males) with a mean (SD) age of 35.3 (14.9) years. They all answered the Scoliosis Research Society 22 revised (SRS-22r) questionnaire and EuroQol 5-dimension-index (EQ-5D). Five hundred twenty eight were surgically treated (78 males), 535 were brace treated (50 males), and 456 were untreated (83 males). The SRS-22r subscore (excluding the satisfaction domain), the SRS-22r domains and the EQ-5D index score were calculated. Subgroup analyses based on treatment and age were performed. Statistical comparisons were performed using analysis of covariance with adjustments for age and treatment. A P-value less than 0.05 was considered as statistical significant.

Results. The mean (SD) SRS-22r subscore was 4.19 (0.61) in males and 4.05 (0.61) in females (P = 0.010). The males had higher scores on the SRS-22r domains function (4.56 vs. 4.42), pain (4.20 vs. 4.00), and mental health (4.14 vs. 3.92) (all P < 0.05). The mean (SD) EQ-5D index score was 0.85 (0.22) for males and 0.81 (0.21) for females (P = 0.10). There were minor differences when comparing males and females in treatment and age groups, but both treated and untreated groups had reduced quality of life compared with the national norms.

Conclusion. When compared with females, males with idiopathic scoliosis tend to have slightly higher scores in the scoliosis specific SRS-22r but not in the generic quality of life measurement EQ-5D. Quality of life is overall similar between males and females in treatment and age groups, but reduced in comparison with the general population.

Level of Evidence: 3

This cross-sectional study of 1519 individuals with idiopathic scoliosis, comparing male and female outcomes, showed overall similar scores in generic and disease specific quality of life instruments. Compared with normative data, males and females with idiopathic scoliosis have significantly decreased quality of life.

Department of Clinical Sciences, Intervention and Technology (CLINTEC), Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden

Department of Orthopaedics, Karolinska University Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden

Department of Orthopaedics, Sundsvall and Härnösand County Hospital, Sundsvall, Sweden

§Department of Orthopaedics, Sahlgrenska University Hospital, Göteborg, Sweden

Department of Orthopaedics, Institute of Clinical Sciences, Sahlgrenska Academy at Göteborg University, Sweden

||Department of Medical and Health Sciences, Division of Physiotherapy, Faculty of Health Sciences, Linköping University, Linköping, Sweden.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to Elias Diarbakerli, PT, MSc, Karolinska Institutet, Huddinge, Stockholm, Sweden; E-mail:

Received 20 June, 2018

Revised 4 August, 2018

Accepted 9 August, 2018

The manuscript submitted does not contain information about medical device(s)/drug(s).

Vetenskapsrådet (SE) (K2013-99X-22268-01-3), H.K.H. Kronprinsessan Lovisas Förening för Barnasjukvård, and Swedish Society of Spinal Surgeons funds were received in support of this work.

Relevant financial activities outside the submitted work: grants.

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