Safety of surgical treatment for patients with scoliosis and surgically corrected congenital cardiac malformations: a comparison with patients with scoliosis and normal hearts

Clinical article

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The safety of spinal fusion has been poorly studied in children with surgically corrected congenital cardiac malformations (CCMs). The objective of this study was to evaluate the safety of spinal fusion in patients with CCMs following cardiac surgery.


A retrospective study was conducted on 32 patients with scoliosis who received surgical treatment for their CCMs (CCM group). Sixty-four age- and sex-matched patients with scoliosis and normal hearts who received spinal fusion served as the control group. These 2 groups were compared for demographic distribution, blood loss, transfusion requirements, and incidence of postoperative complications.


The ages, curve pattern distributions, and number of levels fused were similar between the 2 groups before spinal fusion. Overall, a total of 7 patients in the CCM group (21.9%) and 5 (7.8%) in the control group had documented postoperative complications. The perioperative allogenic blood transfusion rate and mean red blood cell transfusion requirement in the CCM group were significantly higher than those found in patients in the control group (68.7% vs 28.1%, respectively, p = 0.000; and 2.68 ± 2.76 units/patient vs 0.76 ± 1.07 units/patient, respectively, p = 0.011). In the CCM group, a preoperative major curve magnitude ≥ 80° was the most accurate indicator of an increased risk for a major complication (p = 0.019), whereas no statistically significant correlation was noted between postoperative complications and age, type of congenital heart disease, operative duration, and estimated blood loss during the operation and transfusion.


Spinal fusion subsequent to prior cardiac surgery is relatively safe and effective in correcting the spinal deformity for patients with scoliosis and surgically corrected CCMs. A preoperative major curve magnitude ≥ 80° may be a risk factor in predicting postoperative complications in scoliotic patients with surgically corrected CCMs.

Abbreviations used in this paper:BMI = body mass index; CCM = congenital cardiac malformation; CHD = congenital heart disease; EBL = estimated blood loss.

Article Information

* Drs. Liang and Ding contributed equally to this work.

Address correspondence to: Jianxiong Shen, M.D., Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Peking Union Medical College Hospital, No. 1 Shuai Fu Yuan, Wang Fu Jing St., Beijing, China 100730. email:

Please include this information when citing this paper: published online September 13, 2013; DOI: 10.3171/2013.8.PEDS13117.

© AANS, except where prohibited by US copyright law.



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