Progression of scoliosis in patients with spastic quadriplegia after the insertion of an intrathecal baclofen pump.Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2007 Nov 15; 32(24):2745-50.S
Medical and radiographic review of 19 consecutive patients with spastic quadriplegia before and after intrathecal baclofen pump insertion with special attention paid to progression of scoliosis.
Many orthopedic surgeons who treat spastic quadriplegic patients have noticed a trend of marked scoliosis progression after the administration of intrathecal baclofen (ITB) via subcutaneous pump and catheter. The purpose of this study is to quantify scoliosis progression in this patient population before and after baclofen administration and compare this to published natural history data.
SUMMARY OF BACKGROUND DATA
The authors had noted rapid progression of scoliosis in spastic quadriplegic patients after intrathecal baclofen pump insertion. This had been noted at other centers, but no significant statistical analysis had been done comparing prepump to postpump scoliosis progression in these patients.
To document the magnitude and rate of scoliosis progressions after the placement of an ITB pump, the charts and radiographs of 19 consecutive nonambulatory patients with spastic quadriplegia and an ITB pump were reviewed. To document the rate of scoliosis progression, each patient had at least 2 pre and 2 postpump insertion spinal radiographs made. All radiographs were made with the patients in the supine position without orthoses. A board-certified orthopedic surgeon reviewed these radiographs. Skeletal maturity was assessed using Risser grading. Catheter tip location and rate of baclofen administration were recorded.
For 19 patients with complete radiographic data, average Cobb angles were 10.2 degrees before pump insertion and 25 degrees at an average of 20.9 months after pump insertion (P < 0.0001). These 19 patients had a mean rate of change in their Cobb angles of 1.825%/year before pump insertion and 10.95 degrees /year at an average of 23.9 months after pump insertion (P = 0.024). These results represent a 6-fold increase in the curve progression rate after pump insertion. There was no association between catheter tip location or rate of Baclofen infusion on curve progression.
In published data, the rate of progression of scoliosis in skeletally immature nonambulatory patients with cerebral palsy was 4.5 degrees /year. In this study, the average rate of progression of the scoliosis for the immature was 9.02 degrees /year. For the skeletally mature bed-ridden patients, the worst-case natural history progression was 4.4 degrees /year. The comparable rate of change in skeletally mature (Risser 5) nonambulatory patients (n = 6) in this study was 28.4 degrees /year. This study demonstrates a significant increase in the rate of scoliotic curve progression after ITB pump placement when compared with published natural history data. The evidence of the beneficial effects of ITB on spasticity has been confirmed, and as larger, prospective randomized studies are conducted, the authors think that support for continued use of this treatment will increase. However, early bracing and spinal fusion may be warranted to prevent significant increases in spinal deformity if scoliosis is anticipated to progress more than 10 degrees /yr for patients with spastic quadriplegia and ITB pump. The authors are now performing spinal fusions for curves that exceed 40 degrees to 50 degrees in the presence of an ITB pump as recommended by previous reviews of scoliosis and accompanying quadriplegia.