3 years ago

The value of patient global assessment in lumbar spine surgery: an evaluation based on more than 90,000 patients



There are two, principally different ways to obtain patient opinions regarding the outcome of spine surgery: using prospective multi-item questionnaires preoperatively and at follow-up, and using a retrospective single-item question at follow-up—both methods have distinct advantages and limitations. The purpose of the study was to explore the utility of using the simple transition question global assessment, GA, (“How is your back/leg pain today as compared to before the surgery?”) as an overall patient-reported outcome measure (PROM) based on the large real-life database in the Swedish spine registry (Swespine).


The correlation between GA and the score-changes and the final scores at 1 year of follow-up for the PROMs VAS, ODI, and EQ-5D was examined. The correlations between GA and item-specific domains within the ODI, EQ-5D and SF-36 as well as the discriminative ability of PROMs with GA as reference criterion were also analysed. The cohort consisted of 94,132 patients registered in Swespine who were surgically treated for disc herniation, spinal stenosis or degenerative disc disease.


The correlation coefficients for GA vs. the score-changes were lower than for GA vs final scores. For VAS they ranged for the different diagnosis groups from 0.33 to 0.61 and from 0.50 to 0.79, respectively. For ODI, the corresponding values ranged from 0.43 to 0.65 and 0.63 to 0.76; for the EQ-5D from 0.32 to 0.45 and 0.54 to 0.71. Further, GA showed a somewhat stronger correlation to pain-specific PROMs than to quality-of-life PROMs.


The single-item outcome measure global assessment (GA) appears to be a feasible overall patient-reported outcome measure (PROM) and a useful reference for interpreting the scores of patient-reported outcome measures.

Publisher URL: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00586-017-5331-0

DOI: 10.1007/s00586-017-5331-0

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