Baseline Patient-Reported Outcomes Correlate Weakly With Radiographic Parameters: A Multicenter, Prospective NIH Adult Symptomatic Lumbar Scoliosis Study of 286 Patients.


Study design

Prospective, cross-sectional study.


The aim of the study was to determine which radiographic parameters drive patient-reported outcomes (PROs) in primary presentation adult symptomatic lumbar scoliosis (ASLS).

Summary of background data

Previous literature suggests correlations between PROs and sagittal plane deformity (sagittal vertical axis [SVA], pelvic incidence-lumbar lordosis [PI-LL] mismatch, pelvic tilt [PT]). Prior work included revision and primary adult spinal deformity patients. The present study addresses only primary presentation ASLS.


Prospective baseline data were analyzed on 286 patients enrolled in an NIH RO1 clinical trial by nine centers from 2010 to 2014.

Inclusion criteria

40 to 80 years old, lumbar Cobb (LC) 30° or higher and Scoliosis Research Society-23 score 4.0 or less in Pain, Function or Self-Image domains, or Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) 20 or higher. Patients were primary presentation (no prior spinal deformity surgery) and had complete baseline data: standing coronal/sagittal 36" radiographs and PROs (ODI, Scoliosis Research Society-23, Short Form-12). Correlation coefficients were calculated to evaluate relations between radiographic parameters and PROs for the study population and a subset of patients with ODI 40 or higher. Analysis of variance was used to identify differences in PROs for radiographic modifier groups.


Mean age was 60.3 years. Mean spinopelvic parameters were: LL = -39.2°; SVA = 3.1 cm; sacral slope = 32.5°; PT = 23.9°; PI-LL mismatch = 16.8°. Only weak correlations (0.2-0.4) were identified between population sacral slope, SVA and SVA modifiers, and SRS function. SVA and SVA modifiers were weakly associated with ODI. Although there were more correlations in subset analysis of high-symptom patients, all were weak. Analysis of variance identified significant differences in ODI reported by SVA modifier groups.


In primary presentation patients with ASLS and a subset of "high-symptom" patients (ODI ≥ 40), only weak associations between baseline PROs and radiographic parameters were identified. For this patient population, these results suggest regional radiographic parameters (LC, LL, PT, PI-LL mismatch) are not drivers of PROs and cannot be used to extrapolate effect on patient-perceived pathology.

Level of evidence






Published Version (Please cite this version)


Publication Info

Chapman, Todd M, Christine R Baldus, Jon D Lurie, Steven D Glassman, Frank J Schwab, Christopher I Shaffrey, Virginie Lafage, Oheneba Boachie-Adjei, et al. (2016). Baseline Patient-Reported Outcomes Correlate Weakly With Radiographic Parameters: A Multicenter, Prospective NIH Adult Symptomatic Lumbar Scoliosis Study of 286 Patients. Spine, 41(22). pp. 1701–1708. 10.1097/brs.0000000000001613 Retrieved from

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Christopher Ignatius Shaffrey

Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery

I have more than 25 years of experience treating patients of all ages with spinal disorders. I have had an interest in the management of spinal disorders since starting my medical education. I performed residencies in both orthopaedic surgery and neurosurgery to gain a comprehensive understanding of the entire range of spinal disorders. My goal has been to find innovative ways to manage the range of spinal conditions, straightforward to complex. I have a focus on managing patients with complex spinal disorders. My patient evaluation and management philosophy is to provide engaged, compassionate care that focuses on providing the simplest and least aggressive treatment option for a particular condition. In many cases, non-operative treatment options exist to improve a patient’s symptoms. I have been actively engaged in clinical research to find the best ways to manage spinal disorders in order to achieve better results with fewer complications.

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