Total Sagittal Spinal Alignment in Patients With Lumbar Canal Stenosis Accompanied by Intermittent Claudication

Spine 2010;35:E344–E346

Study Design. Cross-sectional study of total sagittal spinal alignment in lumbar spinal canal stenosis (LCS) patients with and without intermittent claudication.

Objective. To evaluate total sagittal spinal alignment in LCS. Summary of Background Data. The sagittal spinal alignment is an important factor in the management of lumbar degenerative diseases and lower back pain. Patients with LCS accompanied by intermittent claudication adopt a forward-bending posture during walking. However, few studies have quantitatively assessed the abnormal posture in LCS in relation to clinical symptoms.

Methods. This study analyzed 93 patients with LCS. They were divided into two groups according to the presence of neurogenic intermittent claudication; patients of the Claudicant group had intermittent claudication of the cauda equina (n  53; mean age, 66.7) and those of the Nerve root group had no claudication (n  40; mean age, 67.0). The following parameters were measured on the lateral whole-spine standing radiographs: the distance between the C7 plumb line and the posterior superior corner on the superior margin of S1 (sagittal vertical axis), the angle between the superior margin of the first lumbar vertebra and the first sacral vertebra (L1S1), lumbar lordotic angle, pelvic tilting angle (PA), and pelvic morphologic angle (PRS1).

Results. The sagittal vertical axis of the Claudicant group (57.6  37.5 mm) was significantly larger than that of the Nerve root group (40.3  42.3 mm) and was larger in both groups compared with the standard values. Lumbar lordotic angle was smaller (18.8°  13.2°) and pelvic tilting angle was larger (27.2°  8.3°) in patients with the Claudicant group than those with the Nerve root group (22.4°  14.0° and 22.7°  7.2°, respectively).

Conclusion. Patients of the Claudicant group exhibited forward bending of the trunk and pelvis backtilt, compared with those of the Nerve root group.