Persistent sleep disturbance after spine surgery is associated with failure to achieve meaningful improvements in pain and health-related quality of life

Majd Marrache, Andrew B. Harris, Varun Puvanesarajah, Micheal Raad, David B. Cohen, Lee H. Riley, Brian J. Neuman, Khaled M. Kebaish, Amit Jain, Richard L. Skolasky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND CONTEXT:: Little is known about the effects of sleep disturbance (SD) on clinical outcomes after spine surgery. PURPOSE: To determine the (1) prevalence of SD among patients presenting for spine surgery at an academic medical center; (2) correlations between SD and health-related quality of life (HRQoL) scores; and (3) associations between postoperative SD resolution and short-term HRQoL. STUDY DESIGN: Retrospective review of prospectively collected data. PATIENT SAMPLE: We included 508 adults undergoing spine surgery at 1 academic center between December 2014 and January 2018. OUTCOME MEASURES: Participants completed the Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) or Neck Disability Index (NDI) and Patient Reported Outcome Measurement System (PROMIS-29) questionnaire preoperatively, during the immediate postoperative period (6–12 weeks), and at 6, 12, and 24 months after surgery. METHODS: Using preoperative PROMIS SD scores, we grouped participants as having no sleep disturbance (score <55), mild disturbance (score, 55–60), moderate disturbance (score 60–70), or severe disturbance (score, 70). For the final analysis, we collapsed these categories into no/mild and moderate/severe. Pearson correlation tests were used to assess correlations between SD and HRQoL measures. Regression analysis (adjusting for age, sex, comorbidities, current opioid use, and occurrence of complications) was used to estimate the effect of postoperative resolved or continuing SD on HRQoL scores and the likelihood of achieving clinically meaningful improvements in HRQoL. Alpha = 0.05. RESULTS: Preoperative SD was reported by 127 participants (25%). SD was significantly correlated with worse ODI and/or NDI values and worse scores in all PROMIS health domains (all, p<.001). At the immediate postoperative assessment, SD had resolved in 80 of 127 participants (63%). Compared with participants who reported no preoperative SD, those with ongoing SD were significantly less likely to achieve clinically meaningful improvements in Pain Interference (odds ratio [OR], 0.49; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.28, 0.84), Physical Function (OR, 0.32; 95% CI, 0.13, 0.82), and Satisfaction with Participation in Social Roles (OR, 0.57; 95% CI, 0.37, 0.80). CONCLUSION: One-quarter of spine surgery patients reported preoperative SD of at least moderate severity. Poor preoperative sleep quality and ongoing postoperative sleep disturbance were significantly associated with worse scores on several HRQoL measures. These results highlight the importance of addressing patients’ sleep disturbance both before and after surgery.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1325-1331
Number of pages7
JournalSpine Journal
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2021


  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Fatigue
  • Health-related quality of life
  • Minimal clinically important difference
  • Neck disability index
  • Oswestry disability index
  • Patient-Reported outcome measurement information system
  • Physical function
  • Sleep disturbance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Clinical Neurology


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