The Clinical Correlation of the Hart-ISSG Proximal Junctional Kyphosis Severity Scale With Health-Related Quality-of-life Outcomes and Need for Revision Surgery

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Study Design.

Retrospective analysis of prospective data.


Evaluate the utility of the Hart-International Spine Study Group proximal junctional kyphosis severity scale (Hart-ISSG PJKSS).

Summary of Background Data.

Proximal junctional kyphosis (PJK) and failure (PJF) are well-described complications after long-segment instrumentation. The Hart-ISSG PJKSS was recently developed and incorporates neurological deficit, pain, instrumentation issues, degree of kyphosis, presence of fracture, and level of upper-most instrumented vertebrae.


All adult spinal deformity patients with PJK or PJF were identified from two academic centers over a 7-year period. Health-related quality-of-life (HRQOL) outcomes were prospectively collected: Oswestry Disability Index (ODI), visual analogue scale (VAS) pain, SF-36 questionnaire, and SRS-30 questionnaire. Patients were retrospectively assigned Hart-ISSG PJKSS scores. Correlation between the Hart-ISSG PJKSS and outcomes was assessed with linear regression, Pearson correlation coefficients, and χ2 analysis.


A total of 184 cases were included; 21.2% were men and mean age was 65.0 years. Weakness and/or myelopathy were present in 11.4% of patients and 88.6% had pain. Instrumentation issues occurred in 44.0% and 64.1% had PJK-associated fractures. PJK occurred in the upper thoracic spine in 21.7% of cases. Mean PJKSS score was 5.9. The Hart-ISSG PJKSS was significantly and strongly associated with ODI (P < 0.001, r = 0.611), VAS pain (P < 0.001, r = 0.676), SRS-30 function (P < 0.001, r = −0.401), SRS-30 mental health (P < 0.001, r = −0.592), SRS-30 self-image (P < 0.001, r = −0.511), SRS-30 satisfaction (P < 0.001, r = −0.531), and SRS-30 pain (P < 0.001, r = −0.445). Higher scores were associated with higher proportion of patients undergoing revision surgery (P < 0.001); scores of 9 to 11 and 12 to 15 underwent revision 96.0% and 100.0% of the time, respectively.


The Hart-ISSG PJKSS was strongly correlated with validated functional outcomes and higher scores were associated with higher rates of revision surgery. The Hart-ISSG PJKSS may be a useful clinical tool in the treatment of patient with PJK.


Level of Evidence: 3

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