Clinical course and prognostic models for the conservative management of cervical radiculopathy: a prospective cohort study

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Journal Article
European Spine Journal, 2018, 27 (11), pp. 2710 - 2719
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© 2018, The Author(s). Purpose: To describe the clinical course and develop prognostic models for poor recovery in patients with cervical radiculopathy who are managed conservatively. Methods: Sixty-one consecutive adults with cervical radiculopathy who were referred for conservative management were included in a prospective cohort study, with 6- and 12-month follow-up assessments. Exclusion criteria were the presence of known serious pathology or spinal surgery in the past. Outcome measures were perceived recovery, neck pain intensity and disability level. Multiple imputation analyses were performed for missing values. Prognostic models were developed using multivariable logistic regression analyses, with bootstrapping techniques for internal validation. Results: About 55% of participants reported to be recovered at 6 and 12 months. All multivariable models contained 2 baseline predictors. Longer symptoms duration increased the risk of poor perceived recovery, whereas the presence of paresthesia decreased this risk. A higher neck pain intensity and a longer duration of symptoms increased the risk of poor relief of neck pain. A higher disability score increased the risk of poor relief of disability, and larger active range of rotation toward the affected side decreased this risk. Following bootstrapping, the explained variance of the models varied between 0.22 and 0.30, and the median area under the curve varied between 0.75 and 0.79. Conclusions: The clinical course of cervical radiculopathy appears to be long, with most of the reduction in symptoms occurring within the first 6 months. All prognostic models showed an adequate predictive performance with modest diagnostic accuracy and explained variance. Graphical abstract: These slides can be retrieved under Electronic Supplementary Material.[Figure not available: see fulltext.].
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