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J Bone Joint Surg Am. 1981 Jun;63(5):702-12.

Idiopathic scoliosis: long-term follow-up and prognosis in untreated patients.


Two hundred and nineteen patients with untreated adolescent idiopathic scoliosis who were seen at the University of Iowa between 1932 and 1948 were studied, and recent information was available on 194 of the patients. The mortality rate was 15 per cent. Backache was somewhat more common in these patients than in the general population, although it was never disabling. The backache was unrelated to the presence of osteoarthritic changes on roentgenograms. Many curves continued to progress slightly in adult life, particularly thoracic curves that had reached between 50 and 80 degrees at skeletal maturity. The lumbar components of combined curves between 50 and 74 degrees also tended to progress. Pulmonary function was affected only in patients with thoracic curves.

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