Burt Yaszay, Pawel P. Jankowski, Tracey P. Bastrom, Baron Lonner, Randal Betz, Suken Shah, Jahangir Asghar, Firoz Miyanji, Amer Samdani, Peter O. Newton

June 2019, Volume 28, Issue 6, pp 1322 - 1330 Original Article Read Full Article 10.1007/s00586-019-05923-4

First Online: 23 February 2019

Progressive decline in pulmonary function 5 years post-operatively in patients who underwent anterior instrumentation for surgical correction of adolescent idiopathic scoliosis


To evaluate changes in pulmonary function tests (PFT) at 5 years post-operatively in patients with adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS) and to determine whether these changes are progressive or static after 2 years.


AIS surgical patients with pre-operative and 5 year post-operative forced expiratory volume (FEV) and forced vital capacity (FVC) were included. The percentage of patients with pulmonary impairment at 5 years was calculated. Repeated measures ANOVA was used to evaluate changes between pre-operative PFT and 5 years post-operative PFT and to determine whether the changes differed between curve types and approach. A sub-analysis of patients with 2 year data was performed to determine whether PFT changes were static or progressive.


Two hundred and sixty-two patients had undergone pre-operative and 5 year post-operative PFTs. At 5 years, 42% were normal, 41% had mild impairment, and 17% had moderate-severe impairment. Overall, there was a decline in % predicted FVC (p  0.05). Anterior instrumentation cases declined significantly between pre-operative PFT and 5 years post-operative PFT (FEV: − 10% open, − 6% thoracoscopic; FVC: − 13% open, − 8% thoracoscopic) (p ≤ 0.02). The posterior cases remained stable (2% FEV, p = 0.7; − 0.6% FVC, p = 0.06). A subgroup of 90 patients with 2 year post-operative PFTs demonstrated that changes were progressive between 2 and 5 years post-operatively. The average change in FVC from 2 to 5 years was significantly different between the anterior open (− 9%) and posterior-only (0.7%) groups (p = 0.015).


In patients who underwent anterior instrumentation, PFTs declined from the pre-operative to the 5 years post-operative time point. There was a progressive decline of 4–10% beyond 2 years post-operatively. Patients who underwent posterior instrumentation remained stable.

Graphical abstract

These slides can be retrieved under Electronic Supplementary Material.[Figure not available: see fulltext.]

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