Patient-related and radiographic predictors of inferior health-related quality-of-life measures in adult patients with nonoperative spinal deformity.



Patients with nonoperative (N-Op) adult spinal deformity (ASD) have inferior long-term spinopelvic alignment and clinical outcomes. Predictors of lower quality-of-life measures in N-Op populations have yet to be sufficiently investigated. The aim of this study was to identify patient-related factors and radiographic parameters associated with inferior health-related quality-of-life (HRQOL) scores in N-Op ASD patients.


N-Op ASD patients with complete radiographic and outcome data at baseline and 2 years were included. N-Op patients and operative (Op) patients were propensity score matched for baseline disability and deformity. Patient-related factors and radiographic alignment parameters (pelvic tilt [PT], sagittal vertical axis [SVA], pelvic incidence [PI]-lumbar lordosis [LL] mismatch, mismatch between cervical lordosis and T1 segment slope [TS-CL], cervical-thoracic pelvic angle [PA], and others) at baseline and 2 years were analyzed as predictors for moderate to severe 2-year Oswestry Disability Index (ODI > 20) and failing to meet the minimal clinically importance difference (MCID) for 2-year Scoliosis Research Society Outcomes Questionnaire (SRS) scores (< 0.4 increase from baseline). Conditional inference decision trees identified predictors of each HRQOL measure and established cutoffs at which factors have a global effect. Random forest analysis (RFA) generated 5000 conditional inference trees to compute a variable importance table for top predictors of inferior HRQOL. Statistical significance was set at p < 0.05.


Six hundred sixty-two patients with ASD (331 Op patients and 331 N-Op patients) with complete radiographic and HRQOL data at their 2-year follow-up were included. There were no differences in demographics, ODI, and Schwab deformity modifiers between groups at baseline (all p > 0.05). N-Op patients had higher 2-year ODI scores (27.9 vs 20.3, p < 0.001), higher rates of moderate to severe disability (29.3% vs 22.4%, p = 0.05), lower SRS total scores (3.47 vs 3.91, p < 0.001), and higher rates of failure to reach SRS MCID (35.3% vs 15.7%, p < 0.001) than Op patients at 2 years. RFA ranked the top overall predictors for moderate to severe ODI at 2 years for N-Op patients as follows: 1) frailty index > 2.8, 2) BMI > 35 kg/m2, T4PA > 28°, and 4) Charlson Comorbidity Index > 1. Top radiographic predictors were T4PA > 28° and C2-S1 SVA > 93 mm. RFA also ranked the top overall predictors for failure to reach 2-year SRS MCID for N-Op patients, as follows: 1) T12-S1 lordosis > 53°, 2) cervical SVA (cSVA) > 28 mm, 3) C2-S1 angle > 14.5°, 4) TS-CL > 12°, and 5) PT > 23°. The top radiographic predictors were T12-S1 Cobb angle, cSVA, C2-S1 angle, and TS-CL.


When controlling for baseline deformity in N-Op versus Op patients, subsequent deterioration in frailty, BMI, and radiographic progression over a 2-year follow-up were found to drive suboptimal patient-reported outcome measures in N-Op cohorts as measured by validated ODI and SRS clinical instruments.





Published Version (Please cite this version)


Publication Info

Passias, Peter G, Haddy Alas, Shay Bess, Breton G Line, Virginie Lafage, Renaud Lafage, Christopher P Ames, Douglas C Burton, et al. (2021). Patient-related and radiographic predictors of inferior health-related quality-of-life measures in adult patients with nonoperative spinal deformity. Journal of neurosurgery. Spine, 34(6). pp. 1–7. 10.3171/2020.9.spine20519 Retrieved from

This is constructed from limited available data and may be imprecise. To cite this article, please review & use the official citation provided by the journal.



Khoi Duc Than

Professor of Neurosurgery

I chose to pursue neurosurgery as a career because of my fascination with the human nervous system. In medical school, I developed a keen interest in the diseases that afflict the brain and spine and gravitated towards the only field where I could help treat these diseases with my own hands. I focus on disorders of the spine where my first goal is to help patients avoid surgery if at all possible. If surgery is needed, I treat patients using the most advanced minimally invasive techniques available in order to minimize pain, blood loss, and hospital stay, while maximizing recovery, neurologic function, and quality of life. In my free time, I enjoy spending time with my family and friends. I am an avid sports fan and love to eat. I try to stay physically fit by going to the gym and playing ice hockey.

Unless otherwise indicated, scholarly articles published by Duke faculty members are made available here with a CC-BY-NC (Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial) license, as enabled by the Duke Open Access Policy. If you wish to use the materials in ways not already permitted under CC-BY-NC, please consult the copyright owner. Other materials are made available here through the author’s grant of a non-exclusive license to make their work openly accessible.