E.-L. Larsson, S. Aaro, P. Ahlinder, B. Öberg

August 1998, Volume 7, Issue 4, pp 294 - 301 Original article Read Full Article 10.1007/s005860050078

First Online: 27 August 1998

Preoperative evaluation of patients with paralytic scoliosis should take into account the consequences of surgery on the every day life of the patient. However, the parameters that are customarily used in these operations relate only to very narrow measures such as the angle of scoliosis or kyphosis. The aim of this study was to introduce a set of instruments appropriate for measuring both function and activities in paralytic scoliosis patients. The study took as its starting point the WHO International Classification of Impairments, Disabilities and Handicaps (ICIDH), in which an activity is described at the level of the individual and function at the level of the organ. A consecutive series of 100 paralytic scoliosis patients with 18 different diagnoses were evaluated preoperatively with a set of instruments that had been specially developed at Linköping hospital, in which the variables are classified according to the system used in the ICIDH. The set of instruments included general information and evaluation of activities and function – sitting, balance, weight distribution to sitting surface, angle of scoliosis, reaching, pain estimation, activities of daily living (ADL) Barthel and ADL Klein and Bell, care given, time spent resting, and seating supports). The results showed that patients with paralytic scoliosis constitute a heterogeneous group in activities and function. Even when the patients were grouped into four subgroups according to the Scoliosis Research Society Classification, they remained very heterogeneous. However, reaching, Klein and Bell Activities of Daily Living and pain could only evaluate patients who could understand verbal instructions. In those who could not, assessment relied more heavily on measures of function and level of dependence. It was concluded that the choice of assessment must be guided by the patient’s ability to understand verbal instructions irrespective of his/her disorder. It is important to use the three levels – impairments, disabilities and handicaps – in order to focus on the different outcomes in the two groups with respect to the patient’s total situation.

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