Investigators at the New York City-based Hospital for Special Surgery developed the first patient questionnaire to measure the physical and psychological impact of brachial plexus injury and assess surgical outcomes.
Here are four things to know:
1. Carol Mancuso, MD, a senior scientist at HSS who specializes in developing surveys and questionnaires said that the sudden nature of the injury, which usually affects young adults who have sustained trauma, "can lead to a realm of psychological challenges, such as emotional distress, loss of independence and depression that can overwhelm patients and potentially hamper recovery. Capturing these psychological elements is necessary to thoroughly understand disability and recovery from this complex condition."
2. Dr. Mancuso developed the questionnaire based on patient input, with preoperative and postoperative versions. Patients with BPI who were undergoing or who underwent surgical reconstruction were enrolled during routine HSS office visits.
3. The preoperative questionnaire analyzes how much improvement patients expect from treatment; the postoperative questionnaire assesses how much patients believe they improved from surgery or another treatment.
4. According to Dr. Mancuso, the questionnaire can improve patient care by providing a template for patients to discuss the range of physical and emotional effects of BPI with their surgical team, allowing providers to comprehensively address patient needs directly or through referral. The questionnaire also encourages discussion of realistic outcome expectations.
The research and copyrighted questionnaire were published in The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery.
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