Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society

2014 Research Abstract

Using wireless technology to assess objective measures of functional recovery in patients undergoing major elective spine surgery

Investigator: Joshua Bakhsheshian, Chicago Medical School at Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine & Science

Mentor: Zachary A. Smith, MD

BACKGROUND: Health related quality-of-life (HRQOL) measures are limited by the frequency of outcome data collection, inconsistent follow-up, and the subjective nature of reporting. Wireless technologies like the Fitbit Flex™ wrist band presents the opportunity to accurately quantify changes in functional activity after surgical correction of advanced spinal deformity and degenerative disease.

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate whether the physical activity recorded by a personal electronic device can provide objective data of functional activity in patients undergoing spine surgery.

METHODS: Patient activity was prospectively evaluated with the Fitbit Flex™ wrist band. Data collection started at 1 month preoperatively and continued up to 6 months postoperatively. Inclusion criteria included patients with a thoracolumbar/lumbar spinal deformity undergoing elective spinal surgery, age 18-75 years and regular access to the internet. Exclusion criteria included patients undergoing surgery for trauma, infection, or tumor, patient with progressive neuromuscular or musculoskeletal conditions and cognitive impairments. A Wilcoxon Summed Rank test between preoperative average daily steps in 1 month and average daily steps in the last postoperative month was completed.

RESULTS: 20 patients have been enrolled (10 male, 10 female) with an average age of 60 ± 10 years (range 32-72 years). Diagnoses included scoliosis/kyphoscoliosis (11), sagittal malalignment (2), neurogenic claudication (1), spondylolisthesis (2), lumbar disc herniation (3), and lumbar stenosis (1). When comparing the mean steps per day for preoperative and postoperative periods, 33.3% patients significantly increased, 33.3% patients remained the same and 33.3% patients significantly decreased.

CONCLUSIONS: This pilot study demonstrated that the Fitbit activity monitor could give us objective measurements of our patients following spine surgery. We demonstrated that physical activity significantly changed in most patients following spinal surgery.

Last modified: 8/14/2015

Updated on August 14, 2015.

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