To assess the neuropsychological (NP) functioning and quality of life (QOL) before and three months after surgery on adults with Chiari I malformation (CMI).
Patients and methods
All adult patients who had been diagnosed with CMI were invited to participate. Those who participated were assessed using a Hospital Anxiety and Depression scale (HAD) and NP examinations. Their QOL was assessed using the self-reported life satisfaction checklist, LiSat-11, and the five-dimensional EuroQol measurement of health outcome, EQ-5D-5L. All assessments were carried out both before and three months after surgery was performed. Demographic data and comorbidities were also registered.
Of the 11 patients who underwent NP assessment, the majority demonstrated cognitive functioning within the normal range. However, postoperatively, their performance in verbal learning, psychomotor speed, colour naming speed and the ability to manage interference through response selection and inhibition (aspects of executive functioning) was significantly improved. Thirteen patients completed QOL assessments. When LiSat-11 item domains were compared with those of healthy subjects, patients reported a lower level of satisfaction with their life quality both before and after surgery. However, the EQ-5D-5L measurements, i.e. the descriptive system and the visual analogue, indicated that their QOL of life was significantly improved after surgery.
There is scarcely any literature documenting effects of surgery on the QOL of CMI patients. The study we present here breaks new ground by comparing pre- and postoperative NP functions in CMI. We also examine the value of surgery for improving both NP functions and QOL in CMI.