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Glendale Adventist Medical Center
1500 E. Chevy Chase Drive, Suite 401B
Glendale, CA 91206
Ph: (818) 863-4444

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Cervical Spine Outcomes Questionnaire

Posted on: 03/15/2007
There isn't a good way to assess results of treatment for all medical conditions. The Short Form-36 (SF-36) survey is probably used the most. The SF-36 measures physical and mental health. It also looks at limitations on work and play. Play includes recreational and social activities.

In this study, a tool called the Cervical Spine Outcomes Questionnaire (CSOQ) is tested on a group of over 500 patients with cervical spine disorders. The results were compared to the SF-36 and one other instrument called the Neck Disability Index (NDI). The NDI measures the effect of spinal disorders on 10 daily activities such as bathing or personal care.

The SF-36 gives a big picture view of a person's overall health. The NDI is more disease-specific. Previous studies showed that the CSOQ is reliable (it measures what it says it will measure). But how does the CSOQ compare to the SF-36 or the NDI? Does the CSOQ register small changes in symptoms?

Patients at 23 different clinics were included. Everyone was at least 18 years old and had a neck fusion. Specifically, all patients had a procedure called an anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF). The surgery was done from the front (anterior) of the neck (cervical). Bone graft material was used to hold or stabilize the spine until healing occurred (fusion).

Scores for all sections of these three tests were very similar. This is called a high concurrent validity. It means that the tests measure the same things and get similar results.

For these tests, that means a patient's neck or shoulder/arm pain tested the same regardless of which test was used. The same was true for function, disability, and psychologic distress. One thing the CSOQ measures that isn't reported by the SF-36 or NDI is health-care use. Use of narcotic medications andnumber of physician visits in the past six months are measured by the CSOQ.

The authors conclude the CSOQ is a good tool to use with patients who have cervical spine problems. It is both valid and reliable. It measures equally well all the test items in the SF-36 and NDI. It also provides some additional information about job-related tasks that may be helpful.

Richard L. Skolasky, MA, et al. Psychometric Properties of the Cervical Spine Outcomes Questionnaire and Its Relationship to Standard Assessment Tools Used in Spine Research. In The Spine Journal. March 2007. Vol. 7. No. 2. Pp. 174-179.

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