Prevalence of Idiopathic Scoliosis in Chinese Schoolchildren: A Large, Population-Based Study

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Abstract

Study Design.

This is a population-based, cross-sectional study of school scoliosis screening program in mainland China.

Objective.

The aim of this study was to assess current prevalence and distribution of idiopathic scoliosis (IS) in schoolchildren and to compare with the results of previous studies.

Summary of Background Data.

The feasibility and predictive values of scoliosis screening programs for school-age children remains controversial and many of these programs have recently been discontinued in different countries. Due to different race and medical model in China, it is not feasible to introduce these data without further study. Therefore, a reliable retrospective cohort study with a large sample size to ensure proper evaluation of school scoliosis screening is needed.

Methods.

Schoolchildren were initially screened by visual inspection of clinical signs, the forward-bending test, and the measurement of the angle of trunk rotation (ATR). Students suspected were rescreened, and then were referred for radiography or dismissed. The diagnosis and treatment were based on the Cobb angle. The personal information, demographic information, and results of tests performed were recorded and analyzed.

Results.

A total of 99,695 children were screened, with a female-to-male ratio of 1:1.03. Around 6.56% of children screened were referred for radiography, and 5125 of them had confirmed diagnosis. The overall scoliosis prevalence rate was 5.14%. According to age and gender, 14- to 15-year-old girls had the highest prevalence rates (13.81%). And, the prevalence of IS in need of treatment was 0.64%. A prevalence rate of 13.1% was observed in girls with BMI less than 18 kg/m2.

Conclusion.

The prevalence rate of IS was 5.14% in our study. Screening of 13- to 14- and 14- to 15-year-old girls identified a significant number who could benefit from preventive treatment. Low BMI may be a risk factor for IS. We present this study as a guide for studying the prevalence of IS and modifying our further research.

Conclusion.

Level of Evidence: 3

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