Does Patient Frailty Status Influence Recovery Following Spinal Fusion for Adult Spinal Deformity?: An Analysis of Patients With 3-Year Follow-up.

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Pierce, Katherine E
Passias, Peter G
Alas, Haddy
Brown, Avery E
Bortz, Cole A
Lafage, Renaud
Lafage, Virginie
Ames, Christopher
Burton, Douglas C
Hart, Robert

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Study design

Retrospective review of a prospective database.


The aim of this study was to evaluate postop clinical recovery among adult spinal deformity (ASD) patients between frailty states undergoing primary procedures SUMMARY OF BACKGROUND DATA.: Frailty severity may be an important determinant for impaired recovery after corrective surgery.


It included ASD patients with health-related quality of life (HRQLs) at baseline (BL), 1 year (1Y), and 3 years (3Y). Patients stratified by frailty by ASD-frailty index scale 0-1(no frailty: <0.3 [NF], mild: 0.3-0.5 [MF], severe: >0.5 [SF]). Demographics, alignment, and SRS-Schwab modifiers were assessed with χ/paired t tests to compare HRQLs: Scoliosis Research Society 22-question Questionnaire (SRS-22), Numeric Rating Scale (NRS) Back/Leg Pain, Oswestry Disability Index (ODI). Area-under-the-curve (AUC) method generated normalized HRQL scores at baseline (BL) and f/u intervals (1Y, 3Y). AUC was calculated for each f/u, and total area was divided by cumulative f/u, generating one number describing recovery (Integrated Health State [IHS]).


A total of 191 patients were included (59 years, 80% females). Breakdown of patients by frailty status: 43.6% NF, 40.8% MF, 15.6% SF. SF patients were older (P = 0.003), >body mass index (P = 0.002). MF and SF were significantly (P < 0.001) more malaligned at BL: pelvic tilt (NF: 21.6°; MF: 27.3°; SF: 22.1°), pelvic incidence and lumbar lordosis (7.4°, 21.2°, 19.7°), sagittal vertical axis (31 mm, 87 mm, 82 mm). By SRS-Schwab, NF were mostly minor (40%), and MF and SF markedly deformed (64%, 57%). Frailty groups exhibited BL to 3Y improvement in SRS-22, ODI, NRS Back/Leg (P < 0.001). After HRQL normalization, SF had improvement in SRS-22 at year 1 and year 3 (P < 0.001), and NRS Back at 1Y. 3Y IHS showed a significant difference in SRS-22 (NF: 1.2 vs. MF: 1.32 vs. SF: 1.69, P < 0.001) and NRS Back Pain (NF: 0.52, MF: 0.66, SF: 0.6, P = 0.025) between frailty groups. SF had more complications (79%). SF/marked deformity had larger invasiveness score (112) compared to MF/moderate deformity (86.2). Controlling for baseline deformity and invasiveness, SF showed more improvement in SRS-22 IHS (NF: 1.21, MF: 1.32, SF: 1.66, P < 0.001).


Although all frailty groups exhibited improved postop disability/pain scores, SF patients recovered better in SRS-22 and NRS Back. Despite SF patients having more complications and larger invasiveness scores, they had overall better patient-reported outcomes, signifying that with frailty severity, patients have more room for improvement postop compared to BL quality of life.

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Publication Info

Pierce, Katherine E, Peter G Passias, Haddy Alas, Avery E Brown, Cole A Bortz, Renaud Lafage, Virginie Lafage, Christopher Ames, et al. (2020). Does Patient Frailty Status Influence Recovery Following Spinal Fusion for Adult Spinal Deformity?: An Analysis of Patients With 3-Year Follow-up. Spine, 45(7). pp. E397–E405. 10.1097/brs.0000000000003288 Retrieved from

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