Two hundred and nineteen patients with untreated adolescent idiopathic
scoliosis who were seen at the University of Iowa between 1932 and 1948
were studied, and recent information was available on 194 of the patients.
The mortality rate was 15 per cent. Backache was somewhat more common in
these patients than in the general population, although it was never
disabling. The backache was unrelated to the presence of osteoarthritic
changes on roentgenograms. Many curves continued to progress slightly in
adult life, particularly thoracic curves that had reached between 50 and 80
degrees at skeletal maturity. The lumbar components of combined curves
between 50 and 74 degrees also tended to progress. Pulmonary function was
affected only in patients with thoracic curves.