SF-36 scores in degenerative lumbar spine disorders: Analysis of prospective data from 451 patients.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Background When using Health-Related Quality of Life (HRQoL) in assessing outcomes of treatment, normative data for different diagnoses are needed to allow cross-comparisons of existing and future studies. We determined the SF-36 scores in patients with surgical lumbar spine problems.

Methods This is a prospective observational study of consecutive surgical patients in one institution. In addition to SF-36 questionnaire responses, local pain, radiating pain, analgesic intake and walking ability were recorded, together with several other demographic variables. 451 patients (50% women) with median age 52 (13-88) years, operated from 1998 through 2002, were included in the study.

Results Preoperative SF-36 scores were significantly lower than those derived from previously published material (the general population, nonspecific low back pain (LBP) patients, other samples of non-LBP patients), also with the use of normbased scoring. Sick-leave and worker's compensation seemed to affect perceived Health-Related Quality of Life (HRQoL), but smoking habits did not. Some SF-36 domains showed a possible discriminating pattern between diagnoses.

Interpretation HRQoL reported by patients scheduled for lumbar spine surgery was much worse than for the normal population and for LBP patients. The normative SF-36 values provided may be used as a benchmark in future studies.


  • Gustavo Zanoli
  • Bo Jönsson
  • Björn Strömqvist
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Orthopedics
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)298-306
JournalActa Orthopaedica
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2006
Publication categoryResearch