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Comprehensive Spinal Tuberculosis Score: A Clinical Guide for the Management of Thoracolumbar Spinal Tuberculosis.

Asian Spine Journal 2024 Februrary 22
STUDY DESIGN: A newly proposed scoring tool was designed to assist in the clinical management of adult thoracolumbar spinal tuberculosis (TB).

PURPOSE: To formulate a comprehensive yet simple scoring tool to guide decision-making in the management of adult thoracolumbar spinal TB.

OVERVIEW OF LITERATURE: Spine surgeons have differing consensus in defining the threshold grade for clinico-radiological parameters when deciding between operative or conservative treatment for adult thoracolumbar spinal TB. Currently, the void in decision-making from the lack of well-defined guidelines is compensated by the surgeon's experience in treating these patients. To the best of our knowledge, no scoring system holistically integrates multiple facets of spinal TB to guide clinical decision-making.

METHODS: The RAND/University of California, Los Angeles appropriateness method was employed among an expert panel of 10 spine surgeons from four apex tertiary care centers. Vital characteristics that independently influenced treatment decisions in spinal TB were identified, and a scoring tool was formulated. Points were assigned for each component based on their severity. The cutoff scores to guide clinical management were determined from the receiver operating characteristic curve based on the retrospective records of 151 patients treated operatively or non-operatively with improved functional outcomes at the 1-year follow-up.

RESULTS: The components of the comprehensive spinal TB score (CSTS) are pain, kyphosis angle, vertebral destruction, and neurological status. A score classification of <5.5, 5.5-6.5, and >6.5 was established to guide the patient toward conservative, conservative/ operative, and operative management, respectively.

CONCLUSIONS: The CSTS was designed to reflect the essential indicators of mechanical stability, neurological stability, and disease process stabilization in spinal TB. The scoring tool is devised to be practical and serve as a common language in the spine community to facilitate discussions and decision-making in thoracolumbar spinal TB. The validity, reliability, and reproducibility of this tool must be assessed through multicenter long-term studies.

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