Patient-preference disability assessment for disabling chronic low back pain: a cross-sectional survey

Katherine Sanchez, Agathe Papelard, Christelle Nguyen, Marylène Jousse, François Rannou, Michel Revel, Serge Poiraudeau
Spine 2009 May 1, 34 (10): 1052-9

STUDY DESIGN: A cross sectional survey. OBJECTIVE.: To assess patient priorities in disability and restriction in participation with disabling chronic low back pain (CLBP) by use of the McMaster-Toronto Arthritis Patient Preference Disability Questionnaire (MACTAR) and to compare this questionnaire with other outcome measures widely used in this situation.

SUMMARY OF BACKGROUND DATA: Disability and participation restriction are widely assessed in CLBP but do not account for patient priorities. Knowing what is important to patients could be useful to help form treatment goals and plans.

METHODS: A total of 150 patients hospitalized in a tertiary care teaching hospital for the management of CLBP were enrolled in the study. Evaluation was by the MACTAR, the Quebec Back Pain Disability Questionnaire (QUEBEC), the Hospital Anxiety and Depression scale, the Fear-Avoidance Beliefs Questionnaire, the Coping Strategies Questionnaire, and pain and handicap visual analog scales. Correlations between the MACTAR score and scores for other scales were analyzed by the Spearman coefficient.

RESULTS: On the MACTAR, patients with CLBP cited as most important 3 disability domains classified by the International Classification of Functioning, Disability, and Health: mobility (n = 23 activities, 165 times, 33% of the patients); community, social, and civic life (n = 7 activities, 138 times, 27.6% of the patients); and domestic life (n = 10 activities, 123 times, 24.6% of the patients). Patients ranked first in importance 37 different activities, especially sport (n = 29 times; 19.3% of the patients), shopping (n = 14; 9.3% of the patients), and walking (n = 13; 8.7% of the patients). The MACTAR score was correlated moderately with visual analog scale handicap (r = 0.51), weakly with the QUEBEC score (r = 0.40), and not at all with Hospital Anxiety and Depression scale, Fear-Avoidance Beliefs Questionnaire, and Coping Strategies Questionnaire scores.

CONCLUSION: For assessing priorities in disability and participation restriction among patients with CLBP, the MACTAR has acceptable construct validity. The weak correlation between QUEBEC and MACTAR scores suggests that the latter scale adds useful information for assessing the health priorities of disabled CLBP patients.

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