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The 36-Item Short-Form Health Survey Outcome Evaluation for Multiple Lower-Extremity Nerve Decompressions in Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy

A Pilot Study

Scott C. Nelson Lakeside Hospital, Omaha, NE.

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Eugene R. Little Jr. Private practice, St. Mary’s, OH; Joint Township District Memorial Hospital, St. Mary’s, OH.

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Background: Diabetic neuropathy can be disabling owing to pain and loss of sensibility. Theoretically, surgical restoration of sensation and relief of pain may prevent these complications and improve quality of life. A study was conducted to perform outcome analysis of patients after these surgical procedures using the 36-Item Short-Form Health Survey.

Methods: The 36-Item Short-Form Health Survey was used to evaluate patients with diabetic neuropathy after nerve decompression surgery. These results were compared with those reported in the literature related to diabetic patients without neuropathy, patients with low-back pain, and an age-matched normative population. The pilot study group included six patients with diabetic neuropathy, three of whom underwent multiple nerve decompression surgery bilaterally. Mean follow-up was 6 months.

Results: Single-tailed t tests demonstrated that postoperative patients were not statistically significantly different from the other groups in the domains of Physical Functioning, Bodily Pain, General Health, Vitality, Social Functioning, and Mental Health; in the domains of Role-Physical and Role-Emotional, a statistically significant difference was found, with the postoperative patients scoring lower.

Conclusions: Although this study is limited by the lack of preoperative administration of the 36-Item Short-Form Health Survey and by its small sample size, we conclude that the survey can evaluate the results of surgical decompression of lower-extremity peripheral nerves and should be added to the traditional assessments of recovery of sensibility and the visual analog scale for pain. (J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 97(2): 121–125, 2007)

Corresponding author: Scott C. Nelson, DPM, Lakeside Hospital, 16909 Lakeside Hills Ct, Ste 208, Omaha, NE 68130.
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