Evaluating measures of quality of life in adult scoliosis: a protocol for a systematic review and narrative synthesis

James E Archer, Charles Baird, Adrian Gardner, Alison B Rushton, Nicola R Heneghan

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BACKGROUND: Adult scoliosis represents a distinct subgroup of scoliosis patients for whom the diagnosis can have a large impact on their health-related quality of life (HR-QOL). Therefore, HR-QOL patient-reported outcome measures (PROMs) are essential to assess disease progression and the impact of interventions. The objective of this systematic review is to evaluate the measurement properties of HR-QOL PROMs in adult scoliosis patients.

METHODS: We will conduct a literature search, from their inception onwards, of multiple electronic databases including AMED, CINAHL, EMBASE, Medline, PsychINFO and PubMed. The searches will be performed in two stages. For both stages of the search, participants will be aged 18 and over with a diagnosis of scoliosis. The primary outcome of interest in the stage one searches will be studies which use PROMs to investigate HR-QOL as defined by the Core Outcome Measures in Effectiveness Trials (COMET) taxonomy, the secondary outcome will be to assess the frequency of use of the various PROMs. In stage two, the primary outcome of interest will be studies which assess the measurement properties of the HR-QOL PROMs identified in stage one. No specific measurement property will be given priority. No planned secondary outcomes have been identified but will be reported if discovered. In stage one, the only restriction on study design will be the exclusion of systematic reviews. In Stage two the only restriction on study design will be the exclusion of full-text articles not available in the English language. Two reviewers will independently screen all citations and abstract data. Potential conflicts will be resolved through discussion. The study methodological quality (or risk of bias) will be appraised using the Consensus-based Standards for the selection of Health Measurement Instruments (COSMIN) checklist. The overall strength of the body of evidence will then be assessed using the Grading of Recommendations, Assessment, Development and Evaluation (GRADE) approach. A narrative synthesis will be provided with information presented in the main text and tables to summarise and explain the characteristics and findings of the included studies. The narrative synthesis will explore the evidence for currently used PROMs in adult scoliosis patients and any areas that require further study.

DISCUSSION: The review will help clinicians and researchers identify a HR-QOL PROM for use in patients with adult scoliosis. Findings from the review will be published and disseminated through a peer-reviewed journal and conference presentations.

SYSTEMATIC REVIEW REGISTRATION: This systematic review has been registered with the International Prospective Register of Systematic Reviews (PROSPERO), reference number: CRD42020219437.

Original languageEnglish
Article number259
Number of pages7
JournalSystematic Reviews
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 27 Sept 2021

Bibliographical note

© 2021. The Author(s).


  • Adult Scoliosis
  • Health-related quality of life
  • Systematic review
  • Systematic Reviews as Topic


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