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Interrater reliability of three-dimensional reconstruction of the spine : Low-dose stereoradiography for evaluating bracing in adolescent idiopathic scoliosis

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. 

Interrater reliability of three-dimensional reconstruction of the spine : Low-dose stereoradiography for evaluating bracing in adolescent idiopathic scoliosis.

Almansour H1Pepke W1Rehm J2Bruckner T3Spira D2Akbar M4

Orthopade. 2020 Apr;49(4):350-358. doi: 10.1007/s00132-019-03712-x.

BACKGROUND 

Bracing constitutes the mainstay treatment for mild scoliosis. The 3D reconstruction of the spine using low-dose stereoradiographic imaging (LSI) is increasingly being used to determine the true shape of the deformity and to assess the success of bracing.

OBJECTIVE 

The aim of the study was to validate the measurement of 3D spinopelvic parameters and vertebral rotation in the setting of bracing treatment via a reliability study conducted in adherence to the guidelines for reporting reliability and agreement studies (GRRAS).

MATERIAL AND METHODS 

Full spine stereoradiographs of patients with adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS) who underwent Chêneau bracing were retrospectively analyzed. The 3D reconstruction was performed by two experienced operators in a blinded manner and randomized order. Rotation of every vertebra was computed in the coronal, sagittal and axial planes. Sagittal spinopelvic parameters were evaluated. All measurements were statistically compared to determine agreement of the measurement of brace correction using the intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC).

RESULTS 

In this study, 45 patients (81% females) aged 12.5 ± 2 years were included. The mean absolute difference was less than 3.5° for all measured angles, less than 4 mm for sagittal vertical axis (SVA) and less than 1.5 mm for lateral pelvic shift. The ICC was high for all parameters (ICC >0.81). Despite the overall high reliability, the reliability of axial rotation was lower in the upper and middle thoracic spine and the lower lumbar spine.

CONCLUSION

Brace wearing during full spine LSI acquisition does not affect spinal measurements. The LSI under bracing treatment produces reliable measurements of spinopelvic parameters as well as vertebral rotation. These reproducible 3D data enable spine surgeons to assess the true shape of the deformity, to quantify rotation of each vertebra and enhance the understanding of the efficacy of bracing treatment.

 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30899991

Prevalence of the thoracic scoliosis in children and adolescents candidates for strabismus surgery: results from a 1935-patient cross-sectional study in China.

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. 

Prevalence of the thoracic scoliosis in children and adolescents candidates for strabismus surgery: results from a 1935-patient cross-sectional study in China.

Pan XX, Huang CA, Lin JL, Zhang ZJ, Shi YF, Chen BD, Zhang HW, Dai ZY, Yu XP, Wang XY.

Eur Spine J. 2020 Apr;29(4):786-793. doi: 10.1007/s00586-020-06341-7. Epub 2020 Feb 28.

PURPOSE 

No study so far has paid attention to strabismus-related spinal imbalance. This study aimed to determine the epidemiology of thoracic scoliosis in children and adolescents with strabismus and investigate the association of two diseases.

METHODS AND DESIGN

A cross-sectional study. Study group consists of 1935 consecutive candidates for strabismus surgery (4-18 years); Control group consists of the age- and sex-matched patients with respiratory diseases. All subjects underwent a screening program based on chest plain radiographs using the Cobb method. Their demographic information, clinical variables and results of Cobb angle were recorded and analyzed.

RESULTS 

A significantly higher prevalence of thoracic scoliosis (289/1935, 14.94% versus 58/1935, 3.00%) was found in study group compared with control group. Among strabismic patients, the coronal thoracic scoliosis curve mainly distributed in right and in main thoracic (198/289) and in the curves 10°-19° (224/289); Age range 7-9 years (103/1935), female (179/1935) and concomitant exotropia patients (159/851) were more likely to have thoracic scoliosis. According to the logistic regression, thoracic scoliosis had no significant association with age, BMI, duration of illness and onset age (p > 0.05). However, gender, BCVA, type of strabismus and degree of strabismus showed a significant relationship with the prevalence of thoracic scoliosis (p < 0.05).

CONCLUSIONS

With a pooled prevalence of 14.94%, strabismus patients showed a great higher risk of developing thoracic scoliosis. Screening for scoliosis in strabismus patients can be helpful to discover a high prevalence of potential coronal scoliosis. More attention should be paid to ophthalmological problems in patients with scoliosis. These slides can be retrieved under Electronic Supplementary Material.

Bracing works better in Italy

Bracing treatment reduces the risk of needing surgery, but the proportion of patients who manage to avoid the scalpel differs between Europe and North America. The factor that makes the difference is patient compliance, i.e. a patient’s adherence to, and belief in, the course of bracing treatment prescribed. In this regard, Italian patients certainly come out on top. 
This is what emerged from a study conducted by ISICO entitled “AIS Bracing Success is Influenced by Time in Brace: Comparative Effectiveness Analysis of BrAIST and ISICO Cohorts”, which has just been published in the scientific journal Spine.

The study was based on a comparison of two populations of patients at high risk of surgery, which showed that, after bracing treatment, 39% of US patients go on to have surgery, as opposed to just 12% of patients treated by ISICO. The Italian institute sent clinical data referring to patients seen by its specialists to the University of Iowa, so that these data might be compared with those obtained in previous research published by the American group in 2014. 

“We worked in collaboration with the researchers at the University of Iowa” explains Dr Sabrina Donzelli, ISICO physician and author of the paper. “In 2014, our American colleagues published a randomized controlled multicentre trial called the “Bracing in Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis Trial (BrAIST)”. The resulting paper, by Lori Dolan and Stuart Weinstein, was published in the New England Journal of Medicine. Their study, the most important on this topic in the past 30 years, involved 383 patients from 25 US and Canadian institutes studied between March 2007 and February 2011. It showed that brace treatment reduced the percentage of patients requiring surgery. Given that surgeons and families in North America have always had a rather negative attitude towards bracing (unlike those in Europe, where it is well received), the authors were surprised by this finding. We took the results of the BrAIST study as the starting point for our research, comparing them with our own data. Working with our American colleagues, we selected patient subpopulations comparable for disease severity and risk of surgery”.

This comparison was a demanding task requiring clarity: the Italian researchers and the American surgeons from the Children’s Hospital of Iowa measured the radiographs of the patients from the BrAIST study and of 169 patients being treated at ISICO, in order to objectively verify the data. 
What did the comparison show? That bracing treatment at Isico works better, with the proportion of at-risk Italian patients who actually had surgery found to be just a third of the proportion recorded in the American population (12% vs 39%). It also emerged that the ISICO patients, respecting the treatment prescribed, wore their brace for a far greater number of hours than their American counterparts.

“Patient compliance is crucial,” Dr Donzelli continues “Our patients are careful to respect their doctor’s prescriptions, and the doctors and patients enjoy a good relationship based on mutual trust and faith in the proposed treatment. All this adds up to great teamwork between the patient, his/her family, the doctor, the orthopaedic technician and the physiotherapist”.

The criteria for evaluation of aesthetics in scoliosis

Our study “Construct validity of the Trunk Aesthetic Clinical Evaluation (TRACE) in young people with idiopathic scoliosis” has recently been published by the journal Annals of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine.

The aim of this study? Scientifically validate the criteria of evaluation of aesthetics in scoliosis.

Indeed, we recall that aesthetics is recognized as a main outcome in idiopathic scoliosis (IS) treatment, but to date, there are no standard criteria for physicians’ evaluation.

Trunk Aesthetic Clinical Evaluation (TRACE) is a simple 12-point ordinal scale to quantify symmetry as a proxy of aesthetics. TRACE is already diffused worldwide and has been used in clinical research.

” In our study, that included 1553 participants (1334 females, mean age 13 years old), we aimed to validate TRACE and improve it with Rasch analysis – explains prof. Stefano Negrini, Scientific Director of Isico – the statistical technique allows to make more precise measurements.
Let’s take the temperature measurement as an example: is it hot, warm, medium, or a little cold? With this type of analysis we develop a real thermometer, obtaining a numerical data. The same criterion is applied to the measurement of the aesthetics, reliably and effectively, as well as objective because it derives from external observation and not simply from what the patient reports “.


The TRACE ordinal scale has been converted into a Rasch-consistent, interval-level measure of trunk aesthetics in IS patients and can be used to compare different populations.

TRACE can be used as an outcome measure and in everyday clinical evaluation of IS, even if new developments of the scale are advised – ends prof. Negrini – It is an objective tool, the only one up to now in the literature. The benchmark for the aesthetics in scoliosis which we want to improve more and more with use”