Are Psychosocial Factors Associated With Patient-reported Outcome Measures in Patients With Rotator Cuff Tears? A Systematic Review

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Abstract

Background

Psychosocial factors are key determinants of health and can influence patient-reported outcomes after rotator cuff tears. However, to our knowledge, a systematic review of published studies has not been conducted to determine the degree of consistency and strength of the relationship between psychosocial factors and patient-reported outcomes in this patient population.

Questions/purposes

(1) Are psychosocial factors associated with patient-reported measures at initial clinical presentation in patients with rotator cuff tears? (2) Are psychosocial factors associated with patient-reported outcomes after treatment in patients with rotator cuff tears?

Methods

A systematic review of cross-sectional and prospective observational studies was performed in MEDLINE/PubMed, EMBASE, CINAHL, PsycINFO, and Web of Science from each database’s inception to June 2016. We included studies examining associations between psychosocial factors and patient-reported measures in patients with rotator cuff tears. We excluded studies not reporting on this relationship, involving patients with nonspecific shoulder pain, and written in a language other than English. Two independent reviewers performed the search, extracted information, and assessed methodological quality. Study quality was assessed using the Methodological Items for Non-Randomized Studies (MINORS) criteria. The primary outcomes for the review were associations between each psychosocial factor and patient-reported measures of function or disability, pain, or quality of life. Associations were interpreted based on significance, strength, and direction of the relationship. A total of 10 studies (five cross-sectional and five prospective) in 1410 patients (age range, 46-62 years, 60% [571 of 958] men) were included in the review. Pooling of results for meta-analyses was not possible as a result of study heterogeneity.

Results

Weak to moderate cross-sectional associations were found for emotional or mental health with function or disability and pain in multiple studies. Lower emotional or mental health function was associated with greater pain or disability or lower physical function at initial evaluation. Only one psychosocial factor (patient expectation) was weak to moderately associated with patient-reported outcomes after treatment in more than one study. In the two studies that examined expectations, the higher the expectation of benefit, the greater the perceived benefit after surgical intervention.

Conclusions

At the initial evaluation of patients with rotator cuff tear, there was an association between self-reported function and pain and emotional or mental health. However, these factors were not associated with patient-reported outcomes after intervention. This finding could be attributed to the lack of large prospective studies in this area or complex phenotypes within this patient population. Preoperative patient expectation is an important predictor of patient-reported outcomes in patients after rotator cuff surgery and may be a modifiable target for enhancing recovery.

Level of Evidence

Level III, therapeutic study.

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