(HealthDay News) – Patients diagnosed with lumbar spinal stenosis (LSS) have a substantial burden of illness and reduced health-related quality of life (HRQL) compared to the general population, and their HRQL is compounded by associated comorbidities.

To estimate the burden of LSS on HRQL, Michele C. Battié, PhD, of the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada, and colleagues conducted a community-based cohort study involving 245 patients diagnosed with LSS who participated in the Canadian Community Health Survey on HRQL. HRQL was quantified using the Health Utilities Index Mark 3 (HUI3), where a score of 1 indicates perfect health.

The researchers found that the mean unadjusted HU13 scores were 0.6–0.85 for the LSS group and general population, respectively. After adjustment, the HRQL deficit in the LSS group was four times that deemed clinically relevant. After controlling for age and gender, LSS patients were significantly more likely to have comorbidities, including arthritis, migraines, hypertension, and incontinence.

“In conclusion, the substantial illness burden of spinal stenosis and the need to manage associated pain and ambulation deficits are underscored by the results of this study,” the authors write. “Furthermore, our analysis quantifies the large additional burden from comorbidity in patients with diagnosed LSS, which has implications for the clinical care of this population.”

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