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The impact of scoliosis surgery on pulmonary function in spinal muscular atrophy: a systematic review

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posted on 2022-11-22, 21:16 authored by Abduljabber Alhammoud, Yahya Othman, Ron El-Hawary, William G. Mackenzie, Jason J. Howard

Scoliosis often occurs coincident with pulmonary function deterioration in spinal muscular atrophy but a causal relationship has not yet been reliably established. A systematic literature review was performed, with pulmonary function testing being the primary outcome pre- and post-scoliosis surgery. Levels of evidence were determined and GRADE recommendations made. Ninety studies were identified with only 14 meeting inclusion criteria. Four studies were level III and the rest were level IV evidence. The average age at surgical intervention was 11.8 years (follow-up 6.1 years). Post-operative pulmonary function progressively declined for the majority of studies. Otherwise, pulmonary function: improved (two studies), were unchanged (two studies), had a decreased rate of decline (three studies), declined initially then returned to baseline (two studies). Respiratory and spine-based complications were common. Given the available evidence, the following GRADE C recommendations were made: (1) surgery is most often associated with decreases in pulmonary function; (2) the impact of surgery on pulmonary function is variable, but does not improve over pre-operative baseline; (3) surgery may result in a decreased rate of decline in pulmonary function post-operatively. Given this lack of evidence-based support, the risk–benefit balance should be taken into consideration when contemplating scoliosis surgery.

Other Information

Published in: Spine Deformity
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  • English


Springer Science and Business Media LLC

Publication Year

  • 2021

Institution affiliated with

  • Hamad Medical Corporation

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