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Initial Cobb Angle Predicts Scoliosis Curve Progression

Last Updated: April 16, 2009.

In patients with idiopathic scoliosis, the Cobb angle on initial presentation is the most important predictor of long-term curve progression, according to a study published in the April 1 issue of Spine.

THURSDAY, April 16 (HealthDay News) -- In patients with idiopathic scoliosis, the Cobb angle on initial presentation is the most important predictor of long-term curve progression, according to a study published in the April 1 issue of Spine.

Ken-Jin Tan, of the National University of Singapore, and colleagues studied 186 children whose idiopathic scoliosis was detected during school screenings, and followed them until they reached skeletal maturity.

The researchers found that subjects who had an initial Cobb angle of at least 25 degrees had a 68.4 percent probability of curve progression to at least 30 degrees at skeletal maturity, while those with an initial Cobb angle of less than 25 degrees had a 91.9 percent probability of not progressing to at least 30 degrees at skeletal maturity. They also found that initial age, gender, and pubertal status were significantly poorer predictors of progression than curve magnitude.

"Our findings of a critical Cobb angle of 25 degrees at first presentation suggests that regardless of previous curve magnitude or curve progression during skeletal growth, the absolute value of the curve at presentation is the most important factor in long-term prognostication," the authors write.

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