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Open Access Open Badges Research

Validity of the Walter Reed Visual Assessment Scale to measure subjective perception of spine deformity in patients with idiopathic scoliosis

Sonia Pineda1, Juan Bago2*, Carmen Gilperez1 and Jose M Climent3

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Hospital Vall d'Hebron, Barcelona, Spain

2 Spine Unit, Hospital Vall d'Hebron, Barcelona, Spain

3 Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Hospital Universitario, Alicante, Spain

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Scoliosis 2006, 1:18  doi:10.1186/1748-7161-1-18

Published: 8 November 2006



The Walter Reed Visual Assessment Scale (WRVAS) was designed to allow idiopathic scoliosis patients to describe their perception of their deformity. In a previous stduy, the scale has shown good correlation with magnitude of the curve


The study included 70 patients (60 women and 10 men), mean age 19.4 years (range 12–40), with idiopathic scoliosis. Each patient filled out the WRVAS and the SRS-22 questionnaire. Thoracic and lumbar curve angles were determined in standing X-rays and the largest was named Cobbmax. WRVAS internal consistency was assessed with Cronbach's alpha. Correlation coefficients were calculated between Cobbmax and the various WRVAS questions, and Cobbmax and the SRS-22 scales. The correlation between the WRVAS and SRS-22 was also determined


Mean magnitudes were thoracic curve, 36.6° and lumbar curve, 33.2°; average Cobbmax was 37.9°. The mean total WRVAS score was 15.6. Mean scores for the various SRS-22 scales were function 4.6, pain 4.3, self-image 3.7, mental health 4.2, and total score 84.1. Internal consistency for the WRVAS was excellent (Cronbach's alpha, 0.9), and there were no signs of collinearity among the seven questions (tolerance range 0.2–0.5). All the items on the WRVAS correlated significantly with Cobbmax (correlation coefficients, 0.4 to 0.7). The correlation between the total WRVAS and total SRS-22 score was -0.54 (P = .0001) and between WRVAS total score and SRS-22 image domain score was -0.57 (p = 0.0001)


The WRVAS showed excellent internal consistency and absence of collinearity. There was a highly significant correlation between the results of the test and the magnitude of the deformity. The WRVAS correlated significantly with the SRS-22 image scale. The WRVAS is a valid instrument to assess scoliosis patients perception of their deformity