Predicting 7-day and 3-month functional outcomes after an ED visit for acute nontraumatic low back pain

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Abstract

Background: Recent work has shown that two-thirds of patients report functional disability 1 week after an emergency department (ED) visit for nontraumatic musculoskeletal low back pain (LBP). Nearly half of these patients report functional disability 3 months later. Identifying high-risk predictors of functional disability at each of these 2 time points will allow emergency clinicians to provide individual patients with an evidence-based understanding of their risk of protracted symptoms. Object: The aim of the present study was to determine whether 5 high-risk features previously identified in various primary care settings predict poor functional outcomes among patients in the ED. The hypothesized predictors are as follows: LBP-related functional disability at baseline, radicular signs, depression, a work-related injury, or a history of chronic or recurrent LBP before the index episode. Methods: We conducted a prospective observational cohort study of patients in the ED with a chief complaint of nontraumatic LBP, which the ED attending physician classified as musculoskeletal. We interviewed patients in the ED before discharge and performed a baseline assessment of functional disability using the 24-item Roland-Morris questionnaire. We also trichotomized the patient's baseline history of LBP into chronic (defined as 30 straight days with continuous LBP or a history of acute exacerbations more frequently than once per week); episodic (acute exacerbations more frequently than once per year but less frequently than once per week), or rarely/never (less frequently than once per year or no history of LBP). We performed telephone follow-up 1 week and 3 months after ED discharge using a scripted closed-question data collection instrument. The primary outcome was any functional limitation attributable to LBP at 1 week and 3 months, defined as a score greater than zero on the Roland-Morris questionnaire. We used logistic regression, adjusted for age, sex, and educational level, to assess the independent association between functional disability and each of the 5 hypothesized predictors listed above. Results: We approached 894 patients for participation and included 556. We obtained follow-up on 97% and 92% of our sample at 1 week and 3 months, respectively. Two of the 5 hypothesized variables predicted functional disability at both time points: higher baseline Roland-Morris score (odds ratio [OR], 4.3; 95% confidence interval [CI], 2.6-6.9) and chronic LBP (OR, 2.3; 95% CI, 1.1-4.8) were associated with 7-day functional disability. These same 2 variables predicted functional disability 3 months after ED discharge - higher baseline Roland-Morris score (OR, 2.3; 95% CI, 1.4-3.9) and chronic LBP (OR, 2.8; 95% CI, 1.5-5.2). The remaining 3 hypothesized predictors (depression, radicular signs, and on-the-job injury) did not predict functional outcome at either time point. Conclusions: Patients in the ED with worse baseline functional impairment and a history of chronic LBP are 2 to 4 times most likely to have poor short- and longer-term outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1852-1859
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Emergency Medicine
Volume30
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2012

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Low Back Pain
Hospital Emergency Service
Odds Ratio
Confidence Intervals
Patient Participation
Wounds and Injuries
Telephone
Observational Studies
Primary Health Care
Emergencies
Cohort Studies
Logistic Models
Physicians

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine

Cite this

@article{ff7738eb07c145c2a3bbfd3ce9c098c5,
title = "Predicting 7-day and 3-month functional outcomes after an ED visit for acute nontraumatic low back pain",
abstract = "Background: Recent work has shown that two-thirds of patients report functional disability 1 week after an emergency department (ED) visit for nontraumatic musculoskeletal low back pain (LBP). Nearly half of these patients report functional disability 3 months later. Identifying high-risk predictors of functional disability at each of these 2 time points will allow emergency clinicians to provide individual patients with an evidence-based understanding of their risk of protracted symptoms. Object: The aim of the present study was to determine whether 5 high-risk features previously identified in various primary care settings predict poor functional outcomes among patients in the ED. The hypothesized predictors are as follows: LBP-related functional disability at baseline, radicular signs, depression, a work-related injury, or a history of chronic or recurrent LBP before the index episode. Methods: We conducted a prospective observational cohort study of patients in the ED with a chief complaint of nontraumatic LBP, which the ED attending physician classified as musculoskeletal. We interviewed patients in the ED before discharge and performed a baseline assessment of functional disability using the 24-item Roland-Morris questionnaire. We also trichotomized the patient's baseline history of LBP into chronic (defined as 30 straight days with continuous LBP or a history of acute exacerbations more frequently than once per week); episodic (acute exacerbations more frequently than once per year but less frequently than once per week), or rarely/never (less frequently than once per year or no history of LBP). We performed telephone follow-up 1 week and 3 months after ED discharge using a scripted closed-question data collection instrument. The primary outcome was any functional limitation attributable to LBP at 1 week and 3 months, defined as a score greater than zero on the Roland-Morris questionnaire. We used logistic regression, adjusted for age, sex, and educational level, to assess the independent association between functional disability and each of the 5 hypothesized predictors listed above. Results: We approached 894 patients for participation and included 556. We obtained follow-up on 97{\%} and 92{\%} of our sample at 1 week and 3 months, respectively. Two of the 5 hypothesized variables predicted functional disability at both time points: higher baseline Roland-Morris score (odds ratio [OR], 4.3; 95{\%} confidence interval [CI], 2.6-6.9) and chronic LBP (OR, 2.3; 95{\%} CI, 1.1-4.8) were associated with 7-day functional disability. These same 2 variables predicted functional disability 3 months after ED discharge - higher baseline Roland-Morris score (OR, 2.3; 95{\%} CI, 1.4-3.9) and chronic LBP (OR, 2.8; 95{\%} CI, 1.5-5.2). The remaining 3 hypothesized predictors (depression, radicular signs, and on-the-job injury) did not predict functional outcome at either time point. Conclusions: Patients in the ED with worse baseline functional impairment and a history of chronic LBP are 2 to 4 times most likely to have poor short- and longer-term outcomes.",
author = "Friedman, {Benjamin W.} and Laura Mulvey and Davitt, {Michelle M.} and Hong Choi and David Esses and Bijur, {Polly E.} and Gallagher, {E. John}",
year = "2012",
month = "11",
doi = "10.1016/j.ajem.2012.03.027",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "30",
pages = "1852--1859",
journal = "American Journal of Emergency Medicine",
issn = "0735-6757",
publisher = "W.B. Saunders Ltd",
number = "9",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Predicting 7-day and 3-month functional outcomes after an ED visit for acute nontraumatic low back pain

AU - Friedman, Benjamin W.

AU - Mulvey, Laura

AU - Davitt, Michelle M.

AU - Choi, Hong

AU - Esses, David

AU - Bijur, Polly E.

AU - Gallagher, E. John

PY - 2012/11

Y1 - 2012/11

N2 - Background: Recent work has shown that two-thirds of patients report functional disability 1 week after an emergency department (ED) visit for nontraumatic musculoskeletal low back pain (LBP). Nearly half of these patients report functional disability 3 months later. Identifying high-risk predictors of functional disability at each of these 2 time points will allow emergency clinicians to provide individual patients with an evidence-based understanding of their risk of protracted symptoms. Object: The aim of the present study was to determine whether 5 high-risk features previously identified in various primary care settings predict poor functional outcomes among patients in the ED. The hypothesized predictors are as follows: LBP-related functional disability at baseline, radicular signs, depression, a work-related injury, or a history of chronic or recurrent LBP before the index episode. Methods: We conducted a prospective observational cohort study of patients in the ED with a chief complaint of nontraumatic LBP, which the ED attending physician classified as musculoskeletal. We interviewed patients in the ED before discharge and performed a baseline assessment of functional disability using the 24-item Roland-Morris questionnaire. We also trichotomized the patient's baseline history of LBP into chronic (defined as 30 straight days with continuous LBP or a history of acute exacerbations more frequently than once per week); episodic (acute exacerbations more frequently than once per year but less frequently than once per week), or rarely/never (less frequently than once per year or no history of LBP). We performed telephone follow-up 1 week and 3 months after ED discharge using a scripted closed-question data collection instrument. The primary outcome was any functional limitation attributable to LBP at 1 week and 3 months, defined as a score greater than zero on the Roland-Morris questionnaire. We used logistic regression, adjusted for age, sex, and educational level, to assess the independent association between functional disability and each of the 5 hypothesized predictors listed above. Results: We approached 894 patients for participation and included 556. We obtained follow-up on 97% and 92% of our sample at 1 week and 3 months, respectively. Two of the 5 hypothesized variables predicted functional disability at both time points: higher baseline Roland-Morris score (odds ratio [OR], 4.3; 95% confidence interval [CI], 2.6-6.9) and chronic LBP (OR, 2.3; 95% CI, 1.1-4.8) were associated with 7-day functional disability. These same 2 variables predicted functional disability 3 months after ED discharge - higher baseline Roland-Morris score (OR, 2.3; 95% CI, 1.4-3.9) and chronic LBP (OR, 2.8; 95% CI, 1.5-5.2). The remaining 3 hypothesized predictors (depression, radicular signs, and on-the-job injury) did not predict functional outcome at either time point. Conclusions: Patients in the ED with worse baseline functional impairment and a history of chronic LBP are 2 to 4 times most likely to have poor short- and longer-term outcomes.

AB - Background: Recent work has shown that two-thirds of patients report functional disability 1 week after an emergency department (ED) visit for nontraumatic musculoskeletal low back pain (LBP). Nearly half of these patients report functional disability 3 months later. Identifying high-risk predictors of functional disability at each of these 2 time points will allow emergency clinicians to provide individual patients with an evidence-based understanding of their risk of protracted symptoms. Object: The aim of the present study was to determine whether 5 high-risk features previously identified in various primary care settings predict poor functional outcomes among patients in the ED. The hypothesized predictors are as follows: LBP-related functional disability at baseline, radicular signs, depression, a work-related injury, or a history of chronic or recurrent LBP before the index episode. Methods: We conducted a prospective observational cohort study of patients in the ED with a chief complaint of nontraumatic LBP, which the ED attending physician classified as musculoskeletal. We interviewed patients in the ED before discharge and performed a baseline assessment of functional disability using the 24-item Roland-Morris questionnaire. We also trichotomized the patient's baseline history of LBP into chronic (defined as 30 straight days with continuous LBP or a history of acute exacerbations more frequently than once per week); episodic (acute exacerbations more frequently than once per year but less frequently than once per week), or rarely/never (less frequently than once per year or no history of LBP). We performed telephone follow-up 1 week and 3 months after ED discharge using a scripted closed-question data collection instrument. The primary outcome was any functional limitation attributable to LBP at 1 week and 3 months, defined as a score greater than zero on the Roland-Morris questionnaire. We used logistic regression, adjusted for age, sex, and educational level, to assess the independent association between functional disability and each of the 5 hypothesized predictors listed above. Results: We approached 894 patients for participation and included 556. We obtained follow-up on 97% and 92% of our sample at 1 week and 3 months, respectively. Two of the 5 hypothesized variables predicted functional disability at both time points: higher baseline Roland-Morris score (odds ratio [OR], 4.3; 95% confidence interval [CI], 2.6-6.9) and chronic LBP (OR, 2.3; 95% CI, 1.1-4.8) were associated with 7-day functional disability. These same 2 variables predicted functional disability 3 months after ED discharge - higher baseline Roland-Morris score (OR, 2.3; 95% CI, 1.4-3.9) and chronic LBP (OR, 2.8; 95% CI, 1.5-5.2). The remaining 3 hypothesized predictors (depression, radicular signs, and on-the-job injury) did not predict functional outcome at either time point. Conclusions: Patients in the ED with worse baseline functional impairment and a history of chronic LBP are 2 to 4 times most likely to have poor short- and longer-term outcomes.

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