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Erica F. Bisson, Deshpande V. Rajakumar, and Praveen V. Mummaneni

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Joseph Laratta, Leah Y. Carreon, Avery L. Buchholz, Andrew Y. Yew, Erica F. Bisson, Praveen V. Mummaneni, and Steven D. Glassman

OBJECTIVE

Medical comorbidities, particularly preoperatively diagnosed anxiety, depression, and obesity, may influence how patients perceive and measure clinical benefit after a surgical intervention. The current study was performed to define and compare the minimum clinically important difference (MCID) thresholds in patients with and without preoperative diagnoses of anxiety or depression and obesity who underwent spinal fusion for grade 1 degenerative spondylolisthesis.

METHODS

The Quality Outcomes Database (QOD) was queried for patients who underwent lumbar fusion for grade 1 degenerative spondylolisthesis during the period from January 2014 to August 2017. Collected patient-reported outcomes (PROs) included the Oswestry Disability Index (ODI), health status (EQ-5D), and numeric rating scale (NRS) scores for back pain (NRS-BP) and leg pain (NRS-LP). Both anchor-based and distribution-based methods for MCID calculation were employed.

RESULTS

Of 462 patients included in the prospective registry who underwent a decompression and fusion procedure, 356 patients (77.1%) had complete baseline and 12-month PRO data and were included in the study. The MCID values for ODI scores did not significantly differ in patients with and those without a preoperative diagnosis of obesity (20.58 and 20.69, respectively). In addition, the MCID values for ODI scores did not differ in patients with and without a preoperative diagnosis of anxiety or depression (24.72 and 22.56, respectively). Similarly, the threshold MCID values for NRS-BP, NRS-LP, and EQ-5D scores were not statistically different between all groups. Based on both anchor-based and distribution-based methods for determination of MCID thresholds, there were no statistically significant differences between all cohorts.

CONCLUSIONS

MCID thresholds were similar for ODI, EQ-5D, NRS-BP, and NRS-LP in patients with and without preoperative diagnoses of anxiety or depression and obesity undergoing spinal fusion for grade 1 degenerative spondylolisthesis. Preoperative clinical and shared decision-making may be improved by understanding that preoperative medical comorbidities may not affect the way patients experience and assess important clinical changes postoperatively.

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Darryl Lau, Anthony M. DiGiorgio, Andrew K. Chan, Cecilia L. Dalle Ore, Michael S. Virk, Dean Chou, Erica F. Bisson, and Praveen V. Mummaneni

OBJECTIVE

Understanding what influences pain and disability following anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF) in patients with degenerative cervical spine disease is critical. This study examines the timing of clinical improvement and identifies factors (including spinal alignment) associated with worse outcomes.

METHODS

Consecutive adult patients were enrolled in a prospective outcomes database from two academic centers participating in the Quality Outcomes Database from 2013 to 2016. Demographics, surgical details, radiographic data, arm and neck pain (visual analog scale [VAS] scores), and disability (Neck Disability Index [NDI] and EQ-5D scores) were reviewed. Multivariate analysis was used.

RESULTS

A total of 186 patients were included, and 48.4% were male. Their mean age was 55.4 years, and 45.7% had myelopathy. Preoperative cervical sagittal vertical axis (cSVA), cervical lordosis (CL), and T1 slope values were 24.9 mm (range 0–55 mm), 10.4° (range −6.0° to 44°), and 28.3° (range 14.0°–51.0°), respectively. ACDF was performed at 1, 2, and 3 levels in 47.8%, 42.0%, and 10.2% of patients, respectively. Preoperative neck and arm VAS scores were 5.7 and 5.4, respectively. NDI and EQ-5D scores were 22.1 and 0.5, respectively. There was significant improvement in all outcomes at 3 months (p < 0.001) and 12 months (p < 0.001). At 3 months, neck VAS (3.0), arm VAS (2.2), NDI (12.7), and EQ-5D (0.7) scores were improved, and at 12 months, neck VAS (2.8), arm VAS (2.3), NDI (11.7), and EQ-5D (0.8) score improvements were sustained. Improvements occurred within the first 3-month period; there was no significant difference in outcomes between the 3-month and 12-month mark. There was no correlation among cSVA, CL, or T1 slope with any outcome endpoint. The most consistent independent preoperative factors associated with worse outcomes were high neck and arm VAS scores and a severe NDI result (p < 0.001). Similar findings were seen with worse NDI and EQ-5D scores (p < 0.001). A significant linear trend of worse NDI and EQ-5D scores at 3 and 12 months was associated with worse baseline scores. Of the 186 patients, 171 (91.9%) had 3-month follow-up data, and 162 (87.1%) had 12-month follow-up data.

CONCLUSIONS

ACDF is effective in improving pain and disability, and improvement occurs within 3 months of surgery. cSVA, CL, and T1 slope do not appear to influence outcomes following ACDF surgery in the population with degenerative cervical disease. Therefore, in patients with relatively normal cervical parameters, augmenting alignment or lordosis is likely unnecessary. Worse preoperative pain and disability were independently associated with worse outcomes.

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Scott L. Zuckerman, Clinton J. Devin, Vincent Rossi, Silky Chotai, E. Hunter Dyer, John J. Knightly, Eric A. Potts, Kevin T. Foley, Erica F. Bisson, Steven D. Glassman, Praveen V. Mummaneni, Mohamad Bydon, and Anthony L. Asher

OBJECTIVE

National databases collect large amounts of clinical information, yet application of these data can be challenging. The authors present the NeuroPoint Alliance and Institute for Healthcare Improvement (NPA-IHI) program as a novel attempt to create a quality improvement (QI) tool informed through registry data to improve the quality of care delivered. Reducing the length of stay (LOS) and readmission after elective lumbar fusion was chosen as the pilot module.

METHODS

The NPA-IHI program prospectively enrolled patients undergoing elective 1- to 3-level lumbar fusions across 8 institutions. A three-pronged approach was taken that included the following phases: 1) Research Phase, 2) Development Phase, and 3) Implementation Phase. Primary outcomes were LOS and readmission. From January to June 2017, a learning system was created utilizing monthly conference calls, weekly data submission, and continuous refinement of the proposed QI tool. Nonparametric tests were used to assess the impact of the QI intervention.

RESULTS

The novel QI tool included the following three areas of intervention: 1) preoperative discharge assessment (location, date, and instructions), 2) inpatient changes (LOS rounding checklist, daily huddle, and pain assessments), and 3) postdischarge calls (pain, primary care follow-up, and satisfaction). A total of 209 patients were enrolled, and the most common procedure was a posterior laminectomy/fusion (60.2%). Seven patients (3.3%) were readmitted during the study period. Preoperative discharge planning was completed for 129 patients (61.7%). A shorter median LOS was seen in those with a known preoperative discharge date (67 vs 80 hours, p = 0.018) and clear discharge instructions (71 vs 81 hours, p = 0.030). Patients with a known preoperative discharge plan also reported significantly increased satisfaction (8.0 vs 7.0, p = 0.028), and patients with increased discharge readiness (scale 0–10) also reported higher satisfaction (r = 0.474, p < 0.001). Those receiving postdischarge calls (76%) had a significantly shorter LOS than those without postdischarge calls (75 vs 99 hours, p = 0.020), although no significant relationship was seen between postdischarge calls and readmission (p = 0.342).

CONCLUSIONS

The NPA-IHI program showed that preoperative discharge planning and postdischarge calls have the potential to reduce LOS and improve satisfaction after elective lumbar fusion. It is our hope that neurosurgical providers can recognize how registries can be used to both develop and implement a QI tool and appreciate the importance of QI implementation as a separate process from data collection/analysis.

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Clinton J. Devin, Mohamad Bydon, Mohammed Ali Alvi, Panagiotis Kerezoudis, Inamullah Khan, Ahilan Sivaganesan, Matthew J. McGirt, Kristin R. Archer, Kevin T. Foley, Praveen V. Mummaneni, Erica F. Bisson, John J. Knightly, Christopher I. Shaffrey, and Anthony L. Asher

OBJECTIVE

Back pain and neck pain are two of the most common causes of work loss due to disability, which poses an economic burden on society. Due to recent changes in healthcare policies, patient-centered outcomes including return to work have been increasingly prioritized by physicians and hospitals to optimize healthcare delivery. In this study, the authors used a national spine registry to identify clinical factors associated with return to work at 3 months among patients undergoing a cervical spine surgery.

METHODS

The authors queried the Quality Outcomes Database registry for information collected from April 2013 through March 2017 for preoperatively employed patients undergoing cervical spine surgery for degenerative spine disease. Covariates included demographic, clinical, and operative variables, and baseline patient-reported outcomes. Multiple imputations were used for missing values and multivariable logistic regression analysis was used to identify factors associated with higher odds of returning to work. Bootstrap resampling (200 iterations) was used to assess the validity of the model. A nomogram was constructed using the results of the multivariable model.

RESULTS

A total of 4689 patients were analyzed, of whom 82.2% (n = 3854) returned to work at 3 months postoperatively. Among previously employed and working patients, 89.3% (n = 3443) returned to work compared to 52.3% (n = 411) among those who were employed but not working (e.g., were on a leave) at the time of surgery (p < 0.001). On multivariable logistic regression the authors found that patients who were less likely to return to work were older (age > 56–65 years: OR 0.69, 95% CI 0.57–0.85, p < 0.001; age > 65 years: OR 0.65, 95% CI 0.43–0.97, p = 0.02); were employed but not working (OR 0.24, 95% CI 0.20–0.29, p < 0.001); were employed part time (OR 0.56, 95% CI 0.42–0.76, p < 0.001); had a heavy-intensity (OR 0.42, 95% CI 0.32–0.54, p < 0.001) or medium-intensity (OR 0.59, 95% CI 0.46–0.76, p < 0.001) occupation compared to a sedentary occupation type; had workers’ compensation (OR 0.38, 95% CI 0.28–0.53, p < 0.001); had a higher Neck Disability Index score at baseline (OR 0.60, 95% CI 0.51–0.70, p = 0.017); were more likely to present with myelopathy (OR 0.52, 95% CI 0.42–0.63, p < 0.001); and had more levels fused (3–5 levels: OR 0.46, 95% CI 0.35–0.61, p < 0.001). Using the multivariable analysis, the authors then constructed a nomogram to predict return to work, which was found to have an area under the curve of 0.812 and good validity.

CONCLUSIONS

Return to work is a crucial outcome that is being increasingly prioritized for employed patients undergoing spine surgery. The results from this study could help surgeons identify at-risk patients so that preoperative expectations could be discussed more comprehensively.

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Anthony L. Asher, John Knightly, Praveen V. Mummaneni, Mohammed Ali Alvi, Matthew J. McGirt, Yagiz U. Yolcu, Andrew K. Chan, Steven D. Glassman, Kevin T. Foley, Jonathan R. Slotkin, Eric A. Potts, Mark E. Shaffrey, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Regis W. Haid Jr., Kai-Ming Fu, Michael Y. Wang, Paul Park, Erica F. Bisson, Robert E. Harbaugh, and Mohamad Bydon

The Quality Outcomes Database (QOD), formerly known as the National Neurosurgery Quality Outcomes Database (N2QOD), was established by the NeuroPoint Alliance (NPA) in collaboration with relevant national stakeholders and experts. The overarching goal of this project was to develop a centralized, nationally coordinated effort to allow individual surgeons and practice groups to collect, measure, and analyze practice patterns and neurosurgical outcomes. Specific objectives of this registry program were as follows: “1) to establish risk-adjusted national benchmarks for both the safety and effectiveness of neurosurgical procedures, 2) to allow practice groups and hospitals to analyze their individual morbidity and clinical outcomes in real time, 3) to generate both quality and efficiency data to support claims made to public and private payers and objectively demonstrate the value of care to other stakeholders, 4) to demonstrate the comparative effectiveness of neurosurgical and spine procedures, 5) to develop sophisticated ‘risk models’ to determine which subpopulations of patients are most likely to benefit from specific surgical interventions, and 6) to facilitate essential multicenter trials and other cooperative clinical studies.” The NPA has launched several neurosurgical specialty modules in the QOD program in the 7 years since its inception including lumbar spine, cervical spine, and spinal deformity and cerebrovascular and intracranial tumor. The QOD Spine modules, which are the primary subject of this paper, have evolved into the largest North American spine registries yet created and have resulted in unprecedented cooperative activities within our specialty and among affiliated spine care practitioners. Herein, the authors discuss the experience of QOD Spine programs to date, with a brief description of their inception, some of the key achievements and milestones, as well as the recent transition of the spine modules to the American Spine Registry (ASR), a collaboration between the American Association of Neurological Surgeons and the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS).

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Praveen V. Mummaneni, Erica F. Bisson, Panagiotis Kerezoudis, Steven Glassman, Kevin Foley, Jonathan R. Slotkin, Eric Potts, Mark Shaffrey, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Domagoj Coric, John Knightly, Paul Park, Kai-Ming Fu, Clinton J. Devin, Silky Chotai, Andrew K. Chan, Michael Virk, Anthony L. Asher, and Mohamad Bydon

OBJECTIVE

Lumbar spondylolisthesis is a degenerative condition that can be surgically treated with either open or minimally invasive decompression and instrumented fusion. Minimally invasive surgery (MIS) approaches may shorten recovery, reduce blood loss, and minimize soft-tissue damage with resultant reduced postoperative pain and disability.

METHODS

The authors queried the national, multicenter Quality Outcomes Database (QOD) registry for patients undergoing posterior lumbar fusion between July 2014 and December 2015 for Grade I degenerative spondylolisthesis. The authors recorded baseline and 12-month patient-reported outcomes (PROs), including Oswestry Disability Index (ODI), EQ-5D, numeric rating scale (NRS)–back pain (NRS-BP), NRS–leg pain (NRS-LP), and satisfaction (North American Spine Society satisfaction questionnaire). Multivariable regression models were fitted for hospital length of stay (LOS), 12-month PROs, and 90-day return to work, after adjusting for an array of preoperative and surgical variables.

RESULTS

A total of 345 patients (open surgery, n = 254; MIS, n = 91) from 11 participating sites were identified in the QOD. The follow-up rate at 12 months was 84% (83.5% [open surgery]; 85% [MIS]). Overall, baseline patient demographics, comorbidities, and clinical characteristics were similarly distributed between the cohorts. Two hundred fifty seven patients underwent 1-level fusion (open surgery, n = 181; MIS, n = 76), and 88 patients underwent 2-level fusion (open surgery, n = 73; MIS, n = 15). Patients in both groups reported significant improvement in all primary outcomes (all p < 0.001). MIS was associated with a significantly lower mean intraoperative estimated blood loss and slightly longer operative times in both 1- and 2-level fusion subgroups. Although the LOS was shorter for MIS 1-level cases, this was not significantly different. No difference was detected with regard to the 12-month PROs between the 1-level MIS versus the 1-level open surgical groups. However, change in functional outcome scores for patients undergoing 2-level fusion was notably larger in the MIS cohort for ODI (−27 vs −16, p = 0.1), EQ-5D (0.27 vs 0.15, p = 0.08), and NRS-BP (−3.5 vs −2.7, p = 0.41); statistical significance was shown only for changes in NRS-LP scores (−4.9 vs −2.8, p = 0.02). On risk-adjusted analysis for 1-level fusion, open versus minimally invasive approach was not significant for 12-month PROs, LOS, and 90-day return to work.

CONCLUSIONS

Significant improvement was found in terms of all functional outcomes in patients undergoing open or MIS fusion for lumbar spondylolisthesis. No difference was detected between the 2 techniques for 1-level fusion in terms of patient-reported outcomes, LOS, and 90-day return to work. However, patients undergoing 2-level MIS fusion reported significantly better improvement in NRS-LP at 12 months than patients undergoing 2-level open surgery. Longer follow-up is needed to provide further insight into the comparative effectiveness of the 2 procedures.

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Anthony L. Asher, Panagiotis Kerezoudis, Praveen V. Mummaneni, Erica F. Bisson, Steven D. Glassman, Kevin T. Foley, Jonathan R. Slotkin, Eric A. Potts, Mark E. Shaffrey, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Domagoj Coric, John J. Knightly, Paul Park, Kai-Ming Fu, Clinton J. Devin, Kristin R. Archer, Silky Chotai, Andrew K. Chan, Michael S. Virk, and Mohamad Bydon

OBJECTIVE

Patient-reported outcomes (PROs) play a pivotal role in defining the value of surgical interventions for spinal disease. The concept of minimum clinically important difference (MCID) is considered the new standard for determining the effectiveness of a given treatment and describing patient satisfaction in response to that treatment. The purpose of this study was to determine the MCID associated with surgical treatment for degenerative lumbar spondylolisthesis.

METHODS

The authors queried the Quality Outcomes Database registry from July 2014 through December 2015 for patients who underwent posterior lumbar surgery for grade I degenerative spondylolisthesis. Recorded PROs included scores on the Oswestry Disability Index (ODI), EQ-5D, and numeric rating scale (NRS) for leg pain (NRS-LP) and back pain (NRS-BP). Anchor-based (using the North American Spine Society satisfaction scale) and distribution-based (half a standard deviation, small Cohen’s effect size, standard error of measurement, and minimum detectable change [MDC]) methods were used to calculate the MCID for each PRO.

RESULTS

A total of 441 patients (80 who underwent laminectomies alone and 361 who underwent fusion procedures) from 11 participating sites were included in the analysis. The changes in functional outcome scores between baseline and the 1-year postoperative evaluation were as follows: 23.5 ± 17.4 points for ODI, 0.24 ± 0.23 for EQ-5D, 4.1 ± 3.5 for NRS-LP, and 3.7 ± 3.2 for NRS-BP. The different calculation methods generated a range of MCID values for each PRO: 3.3–26.5 points for ODI, 0.04–0.3 points for EQ-5D, 0.6–4.5 points for NRS-LP, and 0.5–4.2 points for NRS-BP. The MDC approach appeared to be the most appropriate for calculating MCID because it provided a threshold greater than the measurement error and was closest to the average change difference between the satisfied and not-satisfied patients. On subgroup analysis, the MCID thresholds for laminectomy-alone patients were comparable to those for the patients who underwent arthrodesis as well as for the entire cohort.

CONCLUSIONS

The MCID for PROs was highly variable depending on the calculation technique. The MDC seems to be a statistically and clinically sound method for defining the appropriate MCID value for patients with grade I degenerative lumbar spondylolisthesis. Based on this method, the MCID values are 14.3 points for ODI, 0.2 points for EQ-5D, 1.7 points for NRS-LP, and 1.6 points for NRS-BP.

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Erica F. Bisson, Praveen V. Mummaneni, Michael S. Virk, John Knightly, Mohammed Ali Alvi, Anshit Goyal, Andrew K. Chan, Jian Guan, Steven Glassman, Kevin Foley, Jonathan R. Slotkin, Eric A. Potts, Mark E. Shaffrey, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Regis W. Haid Jr., Kai-Ming Fu, Michael Y. Wang, Paul Park, Anthony L. Asher, and Mohamad Bydon

OBJECTIVE

Lumbar decompression without arthrodesis remains a potential treatment option for cases of low-grade spondylolisthesis (i.e., Meyerding grade I). Minimally invasive surgery (MIS) techniques have recently been increasingly used because of their touted benefits including lower operating time, blood loss, and length of stay. Herein, the authors analyzed patients enrolled in a national surgical registry and compared the baseline characteristics and postoperative clinical and patient-reported outcomes (PROs) between patients undergoing open versus MIS lumbar decompression.

METHODS

The authors queried the Quality Outcomes Database for patients with grade I lumbar degenerative spondylolisthesis undergoing a surgical intervention between July 2014 and June 2016. Among more than 200 participating sites, the 12 with the highest enrollment of patients into the lumbar spine module came together to initiate a focused project to assess the impact of fusion on PROs in patients undergoing surgery for grade I lumbar spondylolisthesis. For the current study, only patients in this cohort from the 12 highest-enrolling sites who underwent a decompression alone were evaluated and classified as open or MIS (tubular decompression). Outcomes of interest included PROs at 2 years; perioperative outcomes such as blood loss and complications; and postoperative outcomes such as length of stay, discharge disposition, and reoperations.

RESULTS

A total of 140 patients undergoing decompression were selected, of whom 71 (50.7%) underwent MIS and 69 (49.3%) underwent an open decompression. On univariate analysis, the authors observed no significant differences between the 2 groups in terms of PROs at 2-year follow-up, including back pain, leg pain, Oswestry Disability Index score, EQ-5D score, and patient satisfaction. On multivariable analysis, compared to MIS, open decompression was associated with higher satisfaction (OR 7.5, 95% CI 2.41–23.2, p = 0.0005). Patients undergoing MIS decompression had a significantly shorter length of stay compared to the open group (0.68 days [SD 1.18] vs 1.83 days [SD 1.618], p < 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS

In this multiinstitutional prospective study, the authors found comparable PROs as well as clinical outcomes at 2 years between groups of patients undergoing open or MIS decompression for low-grade spondylolisthesis.

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Praveen V. Mummaneni, Mohamad Bydon, John J. Knightly, Mohammed Ali Alvi, Yagiz U. Yolcu, Andrew K. Chan, Kevin T. Foley, Jonathan R. Slotkin, Eric A. Potts, Mark E. Shaffrey, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Kai-Ming Fu, Michael Y. Wang, Paul Park, Cheerag D. Upadhyaya, Anthony L. Asher, Luis Tumialan, and Erica F. Bisson

OBJECTIVE

Optimizing patient discharge after surgery has been shown to impact patient recovery and hospital/physician workflow and to reduce healthcare costs. In the current study, the authors sought to identify risk factors for nonroutine discharge after surgery for cervical myelopathy by using a national spine registry.

METHODS

The Quality Outcomes Database cervical module was queried for patients who had undergone surgery for cervical myelopathy between 2016 and 2018. Nonroutine discharge was defined as discharge to postacute care (rehabilitation), nonacute care, or another acute care hospital. A multivariable logistic regression predictive model was created using an array of demographic, clinical, operative, and patient-reported outcome characteristics.

RESULTS

Of the 1114 patients identified, 11.2% (n = 125) had a nonroutine discharge. On univariate analysis, patients with a nonroutine discharge were more likely to be older (age ≥ 65 years, 70.4% vs 35.8%, p < 0.001), African American (24.8% vs 13.9%, p = 0.007), and on Medicare (75.2% vs 35.1%, p < 0.001). Among the patients younger than 65 years of age, those who had a nonroutine discharge were more likely to be unemployed (70.3% vs 36.9%, p < 0.001). Overall, patients with a nonroutine discharge were more likely to present with a motor deficit (73.6% vs 58.7%, p = 0.001) and more likely to have nonindependent ambulation (50.4% vs 14.0%, p < 0.001) at presentation. On multivariable logistic regression, factors associated with higher odds of a nonroutine discharge included African American race (vs White, OR 2.76, 95% CI 1.38–5.51, p = 0.004), Medicare coverage (vs private insurance, OR 2.14, 95% CI 1.00–4.65, p = 0.04), nonindependent ambulation at presentation (OR 2.17, 95% CI 1.17–4.02, p = 0.01), baseline modified Japanese Orthopaedic Association severe myelopathy score (0–11 vs moderate 12–14, OR 2, 95% CI 1.07–3.73, p = 0.01), and posterior surgical approach (OR 11.6, 95% CI 2.12–48, p = 0.004). Factors associated with lower odds of a nonroutine discharge included fewer operated levels (1 vs 2–3 levels, OR 0.3, 95% CI 0.1–0.96, p = 0.009) and a higher quality of life at baseline (EQ-5D score, OR 0.43, 95% CI 0.25–0.73, p = 0.001). On predictor importance analysis, baseline quality of life (EQ-5D score) was identified as the most important predictor (Wald χ2 = 9.8, p = 0.001) of a nonroutine discharge; however, after grouping variables into distinct categories, socioeconomic and demographic characteristics (age, race, gender, insurance status, employment status) were identified as the most significant drivers of nonroutine discharge (28.4% of total predictor importance).

CONCLUSIONS

The study results indicate that socioeconomic and demographic characteristics including age, race, gender, insurance, and employment may be the most significant drivers of a nonroutine discharge after surgery for cervical myelopathy.