, Volume 129, Issue 1, pp 113-118
Date: 11 Sep 2008

A concept for comprehensively measuring health, function and quality of life following orthopaedic interventions of the upper extremity

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Abstract

The view that subjective complaints rather than “objective” measurements decide on whether to consult the doctor or allow for an intervention to be carried out, should contribute to the decision-making process. This is especially true in diseases with multiple joint impairments. Although a variety of patient self-assessment scores exists, no gold standard is available to measure function and quality of life (QoL) after interventions at the upper extremity. The goal of our concept is to establish a comprehensive score set where patients should rate their generic health resp. quality of life (QoL), function of the upper extremity and specific joint function including activities of daily living, function and pain. A comparison with normative data should be possible in order to estimate how the subjective results of the patient when compared to “healthy” people in the general population. Score sets for measuring intervention effect at the shoulder, elbow and the hand were established after previous methodological testing within an interdisciplinary research project. The provisional sets were defined following a systematic literature search. Each set received a score of measuring the quality of life (SF-36), the whole function of the arm (DASH) and the specific joint function (SPADI/ASES for shoulder, PREE/mASES for the elbow and PRWE/custom for the hand). Individual scores were translated, if necessary according to AAOS-guidelines, and tested for reliability and construct validity. All three score sets were then systematically tested in cross-sectional studies. In addition, characteristic values such as minimal detectable difference and effect size could already be determined in the shoulder set in a long-term study. Definite score sets were defined, which allow quantification of the intervention effect at the upper extremity on function and quality of life after.