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LC Ong, YN Lim, A Sofiah
Correspondence: Professor Ong Lai Choo, firstname.lastname@example.org
Purpose To determine the relationship between spinal lesion level and functional outcome in children with spina bifida.
Methods Prospective observational study of 66 children who attended the Spina Bifida Clinic from 1994-1997. Data were obtained from serial physical examination and parent interview to determine mobility status, neurosensory deficits, continence and school placement.
Results Eighteen (27.3%) had high-level (thoracic and thoracolumbar), 27 (40.9%) intermediate (low lumbar) and 21 (31.8%) low-level (sacral) lesions. Children with high-level lesions experienced more mobility problems (independent ambulation, balance and use of appliances), than those with intermediate or low-level lesions (p<0.001). 58.8% of children with low-level lesions used diapers, compared with those with high (90%) or intermediate (100%) level lesions (p = 0.005), but there were no significant differences in the incidence of soiling or urinary incontinence among all three groups. There were no significant differences among the three groups in terms of school placement, skin breakdown, epilepsy or visual defect.
Conclusion Although there is good correlation between the level of the lesion and mobility in children with spina bifida, other measures of functional outcome like continence and school placement are more difficult to predict. These data are important for realistic counselling of families with newborns with spina and planning long term rehabilitation resources.
Keywords: spina bifida, outcome, children
Singapore Med J 2002; 43(1): 12-17