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Eur Spine J. 2014 Aug;23(8):1699-704. doi: 10.1007/s00586-014-3331-x. Epub 2014 May 15.

Quality of life outcomes following surgery for patients with coexistent cervical stenosis and multiple sclerosis.

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Departments of Neurological Surgery, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, OH, USA,



To investigate the quality of life outcomes following surgical treatment of patients with coexisting multiple sclerosis (MS) and cervical stenosis with associated myelopathy (CS).


A retrospective review of the medical records and of prospectively acquired quality of life (QOL) data was performed for all patients with symptoms of myelopathy and coexisting diagnoses of MS and CS that underwent cervical decompression surgery between 2008 and 2011. The study population was matched (1:4) to a control cohort of patients that did not have MS but presented with similar myelopathic symptoms due to cervical stenosis, were of the same age and gender, and underwent the same cervical decompression procedure within the same year.


Sixty-five patients were reviewed, including 13 in the MS group and 52 in the control group that were followed for an average of 22 and 18 months, respectively. Whereas patients in the MS cohort remained at a Quality-Adjusted Life-Year (QALY) gain of 0.51 both pre- and post-operatively (p = 0.96), patients in the matched control cohort improved from a preoperative QALY of 0.50 to a postoperative QALY of 0.64 (p < 0.0001). The latter represents an improvement that exceeds the minimum clinically important difference. Overall, 70% of patients in the control group experienced an improvement in QALY, compared to only 54% in the MS group (p = 0.4).


Patients in the control cohort had clinically and statistically significant improvements in QALY outcomes. Those in the MS cohort averaged no change in QALY. However, only a minority of MS/CS patients had worsening QALY following surgery, and as such surgery may still be considered for these patients. It is imperative that there are preoperative discussions with the MS/CS patient regarding the likelihood that surgery will only provide limited, if any, improvements in QOL.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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