Health Policy

Evaluation of a Disease-Specific Instrument for Idiopathic Clubfoot Outcome

Dietz, F.R.; Tyler, M.C.; Leary, K.S.; Damiano, P.C.
2009 May

Abstract

In 2001, Roye et al. developed a disease-specific instrument (DSI) to measure outcomes of treatment for clubfoot. We assessed this instrument using a cohort of 62 patients, ages five through 12 years (mean, 8.6 years), with idiopathic clubfoot who were treated as infants by various methods. Treatment groups were defined by whether the patient received joint-invasive surgery (posterior or posteromedial release surgery) or joint-sparing treatment only (manipulation and casting with or without tendo-Achilles lengthening or anterior tibial tendon transfer).

The DSI scales demonstrated internal consistency reliability of 0.74 to 0.85 using Cronbach's alpha. Higher (better) DSI scores were associated with "excellent" general health ratings and better health-related quality of life; lower DSI score were related to special healthcare needs. Patients treated using joint-sparing techniques only (eg, Ponseti technique) had higher DSI scores than those who had received joint-invasive surgery. DSI scores for patients who had received posterior or posterior medial release surgery were very similar to those reported by Roye et al. in New York for a comparable group of patients.

Our findings suggest the DSI is sensitive to differences in treatment technique or underlying severity of disease. These data support the use of the Roye DSI as an outcome measure for idiopathic clubfoot in children.

LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: Level III, diagnostic study. See the Guidelines for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.