People with tetraplegia face substantial physical and financial hardships. Although upper extremity reconstruction has been advocated for people with tetraplegia, these procedures are markedly underused in the United States. Population-based preference evaluation of upper extremity reconstruction is important to quantify the value of these reconstructive procedures. This study sought to establish the preferences for 3 health states: tetraplegia, tetraplegia with corrected pinch function, and tetraplegia with corrected elbow extension function.A computer-based, time trade-off survey was administered to a cohort of 81 able-bodied second-year medical students who served as a surrogate for the general public. This survey instrument has undergone pilot testing and has established face validity to evaluate the 3 health states of interest. Utilities were calculated based on an estimated 20 years of remaining life.The mean utility for the tetraplegic health state was low. On average, respondents gave up 10.8 +/- 5.0 out of a hypothetical 20 years for perfect health, for a utility of tetraplegia equal to 0.46. For recovery of pinch function, respondents gave up an average of 6.5 +/- 4.3 years, with a corresponding health utility of 0.68. For recovery of elbow extension function, respondents gave up an average of 7.6 +/- 4.5 years, with a corresponding health utility of 0.74.This study established the preferences for 2 upper extremity surgical interventions: tetraplegia with pinch and tetraplegia with elbow extension. The findings from this study place a high value on upper-limb reconstructive procedures with tetraplegia.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.jhsa.2009.07.003
View details for Web of Science ID 000271598000013