A comparison of outcome measures used to report clubfoot treatment with the Ponseti method: results from a cohort in Harare, Zimbabwe.

BACKGROUND:
There are various established scoring systems to assess the outcome of clubfoot treatment after correction with the Ponseti method. We used five measures to compare the results in a cohort of children followed up for between 3.5 to 5 years.

METHODS:
In January 2017 two experienced physiotherapists assessed children who had started treatment between 2011 and 2013 in one clinic in Harare, Zimbabwe. The length of time in treatment was documented. The Roye score, Bangla clubfoot assessment tool, the Assessing Clubfoot Treatment (ACT) tool, proportion of relapsed and of plantigrade feet were used to assess the outcome of treatment in the cohort. Inter-observer variation was calculated for the two physiotherapists. A comparative analysis of the entire cohort, the children who had completed casting and the children who completed more than two years of bracing was undertaken. Diagnostic accuracy was calculated for the five measures and compared to full clinical assessment (gold standard) and whether referral for further intervention was required for re-casting or surgical review.

RESULTS:
31% (68/218) of the cohort attended for examination and were assessed. Of the children who were assessed, 24 (35%) had attended clinic reviews for 4-5 years, and 30 (44%) for less than 2 years. There was good inter-observer agreement between the two expert physiotherapists on all assessment tools. Overall success of treatment varied between 56 and 93% using the different outcome measures. The relapse assessment had the highest unnecessary referrals (19.1%), and the Roye score the highest proportion of missed referrals (22.7%). The ACT and Bangla score missed the fewest number of referrals (7.4%). The Bangla score demonstrated 79.2% (95%CI: 57.8-92.9%) sensitivity and 79.5% (95%CI: 64.7-90.2%) specificity and the ACT score had 79.2% (95%CI: 57.8-92.9%) sensitivity and 100% (95%CI: 92-100%) specificity in predicting the need for referral.

CONCLUSION:
At three to five years of follow up, the Ponseti method has a good success rate that improves if the child has completed casting and at least two years of bracing. The ACT score demonstrates good diagnostic accuracy for the need for referral for further intervention (specialist opinion or further casting). All tools demonstrated good reliability.

Initial program evaluation of the Ponseti method in Nigeria.

The Ponseti method for correcting clubfoot is a safe, effective, and low-cost treatment that has recently been implemented in Nigeria. This study evaluates the initial impact of the Ponseti method and the unique challenges to its diffusion among practitioners and patients. Information was obtained by traveling to Ponseti clinics to interview or give questionnaires to the Ponseti method practitioners and the parents of children with clubfoot. The challenges identified among the practitioners were: 1) an inadequate amount of information; 2) inadequate resources; 3) insufficient training programs; and 4) a lack of funding. The challenges among parents were: 1) a deficit in knowledge about clubfoot and its treatment; 2) financial constraints; 3) culture and religious practices, and 4) difficulties with treatment compliance. Information from this study can be used to implement specific strategies to improve the dissemination and implementation of the Ponseti method for treating clubfoot in Nigeria and throughout West African nations that share cultural and socioeconomic commonalities.

The impact of the Ponseti treatment method on parents and caregivers of children with clubfoot: a comparison of two urban populations in Europe and Africa.

PURPOSE:
With the Ponseti treatment method established as the gold standard, children with clubfeet face a prolonged treatment regime that might impact on their families. We aimed to determine how Ponseti treatment influences the lives of parents and caregivers and what coping strategies they use. Secondarily, we aimed to identify any potential differences between two urban referral centres for clubfoot.

METHODS:
A total of 115 parents of children affected with idiopathic clubfoot were recruited and included in two groups: one from the United Kingdom (UK) and the other from South Africa (SA). The participants completed the following three instruments: the Impact on Family Scale (IOFS), the Multidimensional Scale of Perceived Social Support (MSPSS), and the Brief COPE.

RESULTS:
During the bracing phase, the IOFS showed a trend towards lower scores when compared to the casting phase for both cohorts (p = 0.247 and p = 0.434, respectively). The SA population scored higher than the UK in the MSPSS in both casting (p = 0.002) and bracing phases (p = 0.004) and used coping strategies at a significantly higher level when compared to the UK population (p < 0.05) in both treatment phases.

CONCLUSION:
This is the first study to show that Ponseti treatment for clubfoot causes an impact on family function. In SA, perceived social support is higher and coping strategies are used more often than in the UK to deal with the stressful circumstances of treatment.

Good results after Ponseti treatment for neglected congenital clubfoot in Ethiopia. A prospective study of 22 children (32 feet) from 2 to 10 years of age.

Neglected clubfoot deformity is a major cause of disability in low-income countries. Most children with clubfoot have little access to treatment in these countries, and they are often inadequately treated. We evaluated the effectiveness of Ponseti’s technique in neglected clubfoot in children in a rural setting in Ethiopia.A prospective study was conducted from June 2007 through July 2010. 22 consecutive children aged 2-10 years (32 feet) with neglected clubfoot were treated by the Ponseti method. The deformity was assessed using the Pirani scoring system. The average follow-up time was 3 years.A plantigrade functional foot was obtained in all patients by Ponseti casting and limited surgical intervention. 2 patients (4 feet) had recurrent deformity. They required re-manipulation and re-tenotomy of the Achilles tendon and 1 other patient required tibialis anterior transfer for dynamic supination deformity of the foot.This study shows that the Ponseti method with some additional surgery can be used successfully as the primary treatment in neglected clubfoot, and that it minimizes the need for extensive corrective surgery.

Assessment of success of the Ponseti method of clubfoot management in sub-Saharan Africa: a systematic review.

Clubfoot is one of the most common congenital deformities affecting mobility. It leads to pain and disability if untreated. The Ponseti method is widely used for the correction of clubfoot. There is variation in how the result of clubfoot management is measured and reported. This review aims to determine and evaluate how success with the Ponseti method is reported in sub-Saharan Africa.Five databases were examined in August 2017 for studies that met the inclusion criteria of: (1) evaluation of the effect of clubfoot management; (2) use of the Ponseti method; (3) original study undertaken in sub-Saharan Africa; (4) published between 2000 and 2017. We used the PRISMA statement to report the scope of studies. The included studies were categorised according to a hierarchy of study methodologies and a 27-item quality measure identified methodological strengths and weaknesses. The definition of success was based on the primary outcome reported.Seventy-seven articles were identified by the search. Twenty-two articles met the inclusion criteria, of which 14 (64%) reported a primary outcome. Outcomes were predominantly reported though case series and the quality of evidence was low. Clinical assessment was the most commonly reported outcome measure and few studies reported long-term outcome. The literature available to assess success of clubfoot management is characterised by a lack of standardisation of outcomes, with different measures reporting success in 68% to 98% of cases.We found variation in the criteria used to define success resulting in a wide range of results. There is need for an agreed definition of good outcome (successful management) following both the correction and the bracing phases of the Ponseti method to establish standards to monitor and evaluate service delivery.

Cost-effectiveness of club-foot treatment in low-income and middle-income countries by the Ponseti method.

Club foot is a common congenital deformity affecting 150?000-200?000 children every year. Untreated patients end up walking on the side or back of the affected foot, with severe social and economic consequences. Club foot is highly treatable by the Ponseti method, a non-invasive technique that has been described as highly suitable for use in resource-limited settings. To date, there has been no evaluation of its cost-effectiveness ratio, defined as the cost of averting one disability-adjusted life year (DALY), a composite measure of the impact of premature death and disability. In this study, we aimed to calculate the average cost-effectiveness ratio of the Ponseti method for correcting club foot in sub-Saharan Africa.Using data from 12 sub-Saharan African countries provided by the international non-profit organisation CURE Clubfoot, which implements several Ponseti treatment programmes around the world, we estimated the average cost of the point-of-care treatment for club foot in these countries. We divided the cost of treatment with the average number of DALYs that can be averted by the Ponseti treatment, assuming treatment is successful in 90% of patients.We found the average cost of the Ponseti treatment to be US$167 per patient. The average number of DALYs averted was 7.42, yielding a cost-effectiveness ratio of US$22.46 per DALY averted. To test the robustness of our calculation different variables were used and these yielded a cost range of US$5.28-29.75. This is less than a tenth of the cost of many other treatment modalities used in resource-poor settings today.The Ponseti method for the treatment of club foot is cost-effective and practical in a low-income country setting. These findings could be used to raise the priority for implementing Ponseti treatment in areas where patients are still lacking access to the life-changing intervention.