Comparing Quality of Life in Cervical Spondylotic Myelopathy with Other Chronic Debilitating Diseases Using the Short Form Survey 36-Health Survey

Taemin Oh, Renaud Lafage, Virginie Lafage, Themistocles Protopsaltis, Vincent Challier, Christopher Shaffrey, Han Jo Kim, Paul Arnold, Jens Chapman, Frank Schwab, Eric Massicotte, Tim Yoon, Shay Bess, Michael Fehlings, Justin Smith, Christopher Ames

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background Although cervical spondylotic myelopathy (CSM) can be devastating, its relative impact on general health remains unclear. Patient responses to the Short Form Survey 36-Health Survey (SF-36) Physical Component Summary (PCS)/Mental Component Summary (MCS) were compared between CSM and other diseases to evaluate their respective impacts on quality of life. The objective of this study was to compare SF-36 PCS/MCS scores in CSM with population and disease-specific norms. Methods Retrospective analysis of a prospective, multicenter AOSpine North American CSM Study database. Inclusion criteria were symptomatic disease, age older than 18 years, cord compression on magnetic resonance imaging or computed tomography myelography, and baseline SF-36 values. SF-36 PCS/MCS scores in CSM were compared with national normative values and disease-specific norms using Student t test. Analysis of variance was used to assess differences across age groups and offsets from age-matched controls. Threshold for significance was P < 0.05. Results There were 285 patients who met the inclusion criteria. The mean age was 56.6 ± 12.0 years, with male predominance (60%). SF-36 scores revealed significant baseline disability (PCS: 34.5 ± 9.8; MCS: 41.5 ± 14.4). Although there were no differences across age groups, when compared with age-matched normative data, younger patients had a larger PCS offset than older patients. CSM caused worse physical disability than most diseases except heart failure. Only back pain/sciatica induced worse mental disability. Conclusions CSM affects quality of life to an extent greater than diabetes or cancer. Although mean impact of CSM does not vary with age, younger patients suffer from greater differences in baseline function. This study highlights the impact of myelopathy on patient function, particularly among younger age groups, and suggests that CSM merits a similar caliber of healthy policy attention as more well-studied diseases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)699-706
Number of pages8
JournalWorld Neurosurgery
StatePublished - Oct 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Cervical spondylotic myelopathy
  • Degenerative
  • Disability
  • Health care
  • Outcomes
  • Quality of life
  • SF-36

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


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