Physical Functioning in Adolescents with Idiopathic Scoliosis: A Systematic Review of Outcome Measures and Their Measurement Properties

Every year, the Italian Scoliosis Study Group selects the best published papers on conservative spine treatment from the global scientific literature.
Here is the abstract from one of these papers. 

Physical Functioning in Adolescents with Idiopathic Scoliosis: A Systematic Review of Outcome Measures and Their Measurement Properties

Samia Alamrani, Alison B Rushton, Adrian Gardner, Elena Bini, Deborah Falla, Nicola R Heneghan
PMID: 34033069 DOI: 10.1007/s43390-021-00365-9


Study design: A systematic review.

Objective: To summarize evidence on measurement properties of Outcome Measures (OM) used to assess physical functioning in adolescents with idiopathic scoliosis (AIS).

Summary of background data: The AIS is a common spine deformity in those aged 10 to 18 years old. Associated health problems (e.g., back pain) significantly impact the quality of life (QoL). One important domain in QoL is physical functioning, which can be measured with patient-reported outcome measures (PROM), performance-based outcome measures (PBOM), and body structure and function OM. Adequate measurement properties of OM are important for precision in research and practice.

Methods: A two-staged search strategy was performed on electronic databases up to December 2019. Search one revealed a list of OM was used for physical functioning assessment in AIS. Search two identified studies that evaluated the measurement properties of OM in AIS; using the list identified in search one. Two independent reviewers determined study eligibility, risk of bias assessment (COnsensus-based Standards for the selection of health Measurement INstruments [COSMIN] checklist), and performed data extraction. The level of evidence was established using a modified GRADE approach.

Results: Search one yielded: 28 PROM, 20 PBOM, and 10 body structure and function OM. Search two revealed: 16 measurement properties studies for PROM, one for PBOM, and three for body structure and function measures. Construct validity, reliability, and responsiveness of most PROM has been established in AIS, but not content validity or internal consistency (moderate evidence). Construct validity was sufficient for the Timed Up and Go test and body structure and function measures (very low to low evidence).

Conclusion: Currently, physical functioning is evaluated with a variety of measures in AIS. The majority of measurement properties studies evaluated PROM with a paucity of information on measurement properties of PBOM and body structure and function OM. Based on COSMIN methodology, none of the OM identified in this review can be recommended with confidence in individuals with AIS.Level of Evidence: 2.

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