Systematic Review of Outcomes following 10-Year Mark of Spine Patient Outcomes Research Trial (SPORT) for Degenerative Spondylolisthesis

Brittany A. Oster, Sina Rashidi Kikanloo, Nicole L. Levine, Jayson Lian, Woojin Cho

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Study Design.We performed a comprehensive search of PubMed, MEDLINE, and EMBASE for all English language studies of all levels of evidence pertaining to Spine Patient Outcomes Research Trial (SPORT), in accordance with Preferred Reported Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-analyses guidelines.Objective.We aim to summarize the 10-year clinical outcomes of SPORT and its numerous follow-up studies for degenerative spondylolisthesis.Summary of Background Data.The SPORT was a landmark randomized control trial including approximately 2500 patients at 13 clinics across the country. SPORT compared surgical and nonoperative management of the three most common spinal pathologies.Methods.Keywords used in the literature search included SPORT, spine patient outcomes research trial, degenerative spondylolisthesis, and surgical outcomes.Results.The intent-to-treat analysis failed to show a significant difference between patients treated surgically as compared to those treated nonoperatively. However, as-treated analysis revealed statically greater improvements at 6 weeks, 2 years, and 4 years in patients treated surgically. Secondary outcomes such as low back pain, leg pain, stenosis bothersome scales, overall satisfaction with current symptoms, and self-rated progress were also significantly improved in surgical patients. Regardless of the initial grade of listhesis, disk height, or mobility, patients who had surgical treatment improved more in terms of Oswestry Disability Index, bodily pain, physical function, and low back pain bothersomeness scales. Risk of reoperation increased with age, having two or three moderate or severe stenotic levels, pain predominantly localized to the back, no physical therapy, the absence of neurogenic claudication, and greater leg pain scores. Risk of reoperation was not significantly affected by type of surgery performed, smoking, diabetes, obesity, longer duration of symptoms, or workman's compensation.Conclusion.Although intent-to-treat analysis failed to show significant differences in patients treated surgically, results of the as-treated analysis determined statically greater improvements in those patients with spondylolisthesis who were treated surgically as compared to those treated nonoperatively.Level of Evidence: 2.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)820-824
Number of pages5
Issue number12
StatePublished - Jun 15 2020


  • degenerative spondylolisthesis
  • spine patient outcomes research trial
  • surgical outcomes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Clinical Neurology


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