Quality of life outcomes following resection of adult intramedullary spinal cord tumors

Roy Xiao, Jacob A. Miller, Kalil G. Abdullah, Daniel Lubelski, Thomas E. Mroz, Edward C. Benzel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: Intramedullary spinal cord tumors are rare but clinically significant entities. Resection is critical to prevent permanent neurological deficits. However, no studies have investigated the quality of life (QOL) benefit of resection in adults. OBJECTIVE: To investigate QOL outcomes after intramedullary spinal cord tumors resection. METHODS: A consecutive retrospective review of all patients who underwent intramedullary spinal cord tumors resection at a single tertiary care institution between January 2008 and December 2013 was conducted. QOL was measured by the EuroQol 5-Dimensions (EQ-5D), Pain Disability Questionnaire (PDQ), and Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9). Multivariable regression was used to identify independent predictors of outcomes. RESULTS: Among 45 patients, the most common pathology was ependymoma (60%). No significant changes between preoperative and postoperative EQ-5D, PDQ, or PHQ-9 were observed. Improvements exceeding the minimal clinically important difference occurred in 28% of patients in EQ-5D, 28% in PDQ, and 16% in PHQ-9. Worse preoperative neurological status predicted worsened EQ-5D (β -0.09, P .04) and PDQ (β 20.77, P <.01), while ependymomas predicted QOL improvement exceeding the minimal clinically important difference in PDQ (OR 14.98, P .04) and approached significance in EQ-5D (OR 43.52, P .06). Conversely, cervical tumors predicted worsened PDQ (β 18.32, P <.01) and failure to achieve EQ-5D minimal clinically important difference (OR <0.01, 95% CI <0.01-0.65, P .02). Postoperative complications, such as syrinx formation (β -0.09, P .04) and cerebrospinal fluid leak (β 13.85, P .04), predicted diminished improvement in EQ-5D and PDQ, respectively. CONCLUSION: Although resection did not significantly improve QOL, it is likely necessary to arrest QOL deterioration. Patients with better preoperative neurological status or ependymoma experienced QOL improvement, while postoperative complications negatively impacted long-term QOL.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)821-828
Number of pages8
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Ependymoma
  • Intramedullary
  • Minimal clinically important difference
  • Multivariable regression
  • Quality of life
  • Spinal cord tumors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


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