Background Scoliosis is a common condition that affects lung function, causing a restrictive pattern of abnormality. The effect on lung function is important as outcomes from corrective surgery are influenced by Forced Vital Capacity (FVC) and Forced Expiratory Volume (FEV1). The relationship between FVC, FEV1 and degree of scoliosis is poorly described.
We undertook a retrospective study comparing the radiographic measures of spinal curvature (Cobb angles and apex) with clinical lung function testing (% predicted FEV1/FVC). We have data on over 300 children (<18 yrs) with scoliosis who have had lung function testing. These preliminary results are from a cohort of 62 children.
Aims To investigate the correlation between the severity of the thoracic curve and lung function. Secondary outcomes included comparing the position of the curve apex and Cobb angle with lung function.
Methods Spinal X-ray images were analysed to look at Cobb angle, thoracic curvature, and apex of the curve. FVC and FEV1 were measured in our lung function lab and presented as percent predicted. Data analysis was done using SPSS.
Results Both an increase in thoracic curvature and Cobb angle are associated with worsening FEV1/FVC (p = 0.06/0.02 and 0.004/0.006 respectively). The comparison with Apex showed no statistical significance (p = 0.405/0.337).
Conclusion Increasing spinal curvature is significantly correlated with worsening lung function. Surprisingly, the maximal curve (Cobb angle) appears a better predictor of FVC than thoracic curve.