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Scientific Articles

Surgery for scoliosis in Duchenne muscular dystrophy

key information

source: The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews

year: 2013

authors: Cheuk DK, Wong V, Wraige E, Baxter P, Cole A



Scoliosis in people with Duchenne muscular dystrophy is usually progressive and treated with surgery. However, it is unclear whether the existing evidence is sufficiently scientifically rigorous to support a recommendation for spinal surgery for most people with Duchenne muscular dystrophy and scoliosis. This is an updated review and an updated search was undertaken in which no new studies were found.



To determine the effectiveness and safety of spinal surgery in people with Duchenne muscular dystrophy with scoliosis. We intended to test whether spinal surgery is effective in increasing survival, improving respiratory function, improving quality of life and overall functioning; and whether spinal surgery is associated with severe adverse effects.


Search Methods:

We searched the specialized registers of the Cochrane Neuromuscular Disease Group (31 July 2012), MEDLINE (January 1966 to July 2012), EMBASE (January 1947 to July 2012), CENTRAL (2012, Issue 7 in the Cochrane Library), CINAHL Plus(January 1937 to July 2012), Proquest Dissertation and Thesis Database (January 1980 to July 2012), and the National Institute of Health Clinical Trials Database (July 2012). No language restrictions were imposed.


Selection Criteria:

We planned to include controlled clinical trials using random or quasi-random allocation of treatment evaluating all forms of spinal surgery for scoliosis in people with Duchenne muscular dystrophy in the review. The control interventions would have been no treatment, non-operative treatment, or a different form of spinal surgery.


Data Collection and Analysis:

Two authors independently examined the search results and evaluated the study characteristics against inclusion criteria to decide which ones would be included in the review.


Main Results:

On searching, 47 studies were relevant but none met the inclusion criteria for the review, because they were not clinical trials but prospective or retrospective reviews of case series.


Author’s Conclusions:

Since there were no randomized controlled clinical trials available to evaluate the effectiveness of scoliosis surgery in people with Duchenne muscular dystrophy, no evidence-based recommendation can be made for clinical practice. People with scoliosis should be informed about the uncertainty of benefits and potential risks of surgery for scoliosis. Randomized controlled trials are needed to investigate the effectiveness of scoliosis surgery, in terms of quality of life, functional status, respiratory function and life expectancy.

organization: The University of Hong Kong

DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD005375.pub3

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