The Relationship between Preoperative Echocardiographic Evaluation and Spinal Deformity in Patients with Neuromuscular Scoliosis


Wataru Saito, Gen Inoue, Takayuki Imura, Toshiyuki Nakazawa, Masayuki Miyagi, Eiki Shirasawa, Akiyoshi Kuroda, Kentaro Uchida, Masashi Takaso

Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Kitasato University School of Medicine, Kanagawa, Japan


Introduction: Echocardiography is an important component of perioperative cardiac risk stratification in patients with neuromuscular scoliosis (NMS). However, there are little data regarding the relationship between preoperative echocardiographic findings and spinal deformity. We retrospectively reviewed preoperative echocardiographic data to investigate the relationship between echocardiographic evaluation and spinal deformity in NMS.
Methods: We reviewed 73 NMS patients (mean age: 13.3 years, male 66%) who underwent spinal correction surgery between 2008 and 2016. Echocardiographic data including ejection fraction (EF), valvar disease, and inferior vena cava diameter were collected from the preoperative exam. Demographic and radiographic data were also collected.
Results: Preoperative diagnoses included Duchenne muscular dystrophy, Fukuyama congenital muscular dystrophy, other dystrophy, spinal muscular atrophy, and congenital myopathies. Mean Body Mass Index (BMI) was 15.6 kg/m2. Mean major Cobb angle before surgery was 86.6 ± 28.2°. Because of technical difficulty, complete echocardiographic data could only be collected and evaluated in 49.3% of patients. Neither right nor left sided cardiac evaluation could be completed in 20.5%. Patients in whom complete echocardiographic data could not be collected had significantly more extensive thoracic scoliosis with a more rigid curve and hypokyphosis, and were of lower weight and BMI than patients in whom complete data could be collected. Ten cases (13.7%) were diagnosed as having minor heart-related complications immediately after surgery, and they had higher right atrial pressures preoperatively.
Conclusions: Echocardiography can be technically difficult in NMS patients with extensive spinal deformities. We found that perioperative cardiac function could only be evaluated by echocardiogram in about half of NMS patients undergoing spinal correction surgery. The absence of an adequate preoperative cardiac evaluation could render these patients more susceptible to perioperative heart-related complications. Echocardiography may not be sufficient to evaluate cardiac conditions in children with extensive NMS.

Released: January 27, 2018; doi: