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Elderly Patients Show Substantial Improvement in Health-Related Quality of Life After Surgery for Degenerative Cervical Myelopathy Despite Medical Frailty: An Ambispective Analysis of a Multicenter, International Data Set.

Neurosurgery 2024 January 11
BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: We assessed the relationship between Modified Frailty Index-5 (mFI-5) and neurological outcomes, as well as health-related quality of life (HRQoL) measures, in elderly patients with degenerative cervical myelopathy (DCM) after surgery.

METHODS: Data from 3 major DCM trials (the Arbeitsgemeinschaft für Osteosynthesefragen Spine Cervical Spondylotic Myelopathy-North America, Cervical Spondylotic Myelopathy-International, and CSM-PROTECT studies) were combined, involving 1047 subjects with moderate to severe myelopathy. Patients older than 60 years with 6-month and 1-year postoperative data were analyzed. Neurological outcome was assessed using the modified Japanese Orthopaedic Association score, while HRQoL was measured using the 36-Item Short Form Health Survey (SF-36) (both Physical Component Summary [SF-36 PCS] and Mental Component Summary [SF-36 MCS] scores) and the Neck Disability Index. Frail (mFI ≥2) and nonfrail (mFI = 0-1) cohorts were compared using univariate paired statistics.

RESULTS: The final analysis included 261 patients (62.5% male), with a mean age of 71 years (95% CI 70.7-72). Frail patients (mFI ≥2) had lower baseline modified Japanese Orthopaedic Association scores (10.45 vs 11.96, P < .001), SF-36 PCS scores (32.01 vs 36.51, P < .001), and SF-36 MCS scores (39.32 vs 45.24, P < .001). At 6-month follow-up, SF-36 MCS improved by a mean (SD) of 7.19 (12.89) points in frail vs 2.91 (11.11) points in the nonfrail group (P = .016). At 1 year after surgery, frail patients showed greater improvement in both SF-36 PCS and SF-36 MCS composite scores compared with nonfrail patients (7.81 vs 4.49, P = .038, and 7.93 vs 3.01, P = .007, respectively). Bivariate regression analysis revealed that higher mFI-5 scores correlated with more substantial improvement in overall mental status at 6 months and 1 year (P = .024 and P = .009, respectively).

CONCLUSION: mFI-5 is a clinically helpful signature to reflect the HRQoL status among elderly patients with DCM. Despite preoperative medical frailty, elderly patients with DCM experience significant HRQoL improvement after surgery. These findings enable clinicians to identify elderly patients with modifiable comorbidities and provide informed counseling on anticipated outcomes.


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