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New Tool Measures Impact of Brachial Plexus Injury

Questionnaire measures physical, psychological effects; valid based on comparison with other tools

THURSDAY, Feb. 15, 2018 (HealthDay News) — A new questionnaire can measure the impact of brachial plexus injury (BPI) and assess surgical outcomes, according to a study published in the Feb. 7 issue of the Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery.

Carol A. Mancuso, M.D., from the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City, and colleagues developed and tested a patient-derived questionnaire to measure the physical and psychological impact and outcomes of BPI. Patient scores using the questionnaire were compared to the Disabilities of the Arm, Shoulder and Hand (DASH) and RAND-36 measures. The questionnaire was developed with 23 patients in phase 1 and 50 patients in phase 2. Phase 3 involved selecting final items, developing a scoring system, and assessing validity.

The researchers developed a 43-item questionnaire with items grouped into four subscales: symptoms, limitations, emotion, and improvement expected (preoperative) or improvement received (postoperative). A score ranging from 0 to 100 can be calculated for each subscale. For the symptoms, limitations, and emotion subscales, preoperative scores were worse than postoperative scores (composite score of 48 versus 38; P = 0.05), and more improvement was expected than was received (69 versus 53; P = 0.01). Correlations with the DASH and RAND-36 for related scales were consistent and moderate, which indicates that the new questionnaire is valid.

“We developed a patient-derived questionnaire that measures the physical and psychological impact of BPI on preoperative and postoperative patients and the amount of improvement expected or received from surgery,” the authors write. “This BPI-specific questionnaire enhances the comprehensive assessment of this population.”

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