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Kavelin Rumalla, Chester K. Yarbrough, Andrew J. Pugely, Linda Koester and Ian G. Dorward

OBJECTIVE

The objective of this study was to determine if the recent changes in technology, surgical techniques, and surgical literature have influenced practice trends in spinal fusion surgery for pediatric neuromuscular scoliosis (NMS). In this study the authors analyzed recent trends in the surgical management of NMS and investigated the effect of various patient and surgical factors on in-hospital complications, outcomes, and costs, using the Nationwide Inpatient Sample (NIS) database.

METHODS

The NIS was queried from 2002 to 2011 using International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Edition, Clinical Modification codes to identify pediatric cases (age < 18 years) of spinal fusion for NMS. Several patient, surgical, and short-term outcome factors were included in the analyses. Trend analyses of these factors were conducted. Both univariate and multivariable analyses were used to determine the effect of the various patient and surgical factors on short-term outcomes.

RESULTS

Between 2002 and 2011, a total of 2154 NMS fusion cases were identified, and the volume of spinal fusion procedures increased 93% from 148 in 2002 to 286 in 2011 (p < 0.0001). The mean patient age was 12.8 ± 3.10 years, and 45.6% of the study population was female. The overall complication rate was 40.1% and the respiratory complication rate was 28.2%. From 2002 to 2011, upward trends (p < 0.0001) were demonstrated in Medicaid insurance status (36.5% to 52.8%), presence of ≥ 1 comorbidity (40.2% to 52.1%), and blood transfusions (25.2% to 57.3%). Utilization of posterior-only fusions (PSFs) increased from 66.2% to 90.2% (p < 0.0001) while combined anterior release/fusions and PSF (AR/PSF) decreased from 33.8% to 9.8% (< 0.0001). Intraoperative neurophysiological monitoring (IONM) underwent increasing utilization from 2009 to 2011 (15.5% to 20.3%, p < 0.0001). The use/harvest of autograft underwent a significant upward trend between 2002 and 2011 (31.3% to 59.8%, p < 0.0001). In univariate analysis, IONM use was associated with decreased complications (40.7% to 33.1%, p = 0.049) and length of stay (LOS; 9.21 to 6.70 days, p <0.0001). Inflation-adjusted mean hospital costs increased nearly 75% from 2002 to 2011 ($36,805 to $65,244, p < 0.0001). In the multivariable analysis, nonwhite race, highest quartile of median household income, greater preexisting comorbidity, long-segment fusions, and use of blood transfusions were found to increase the likelihood of complication occurrence (all p < 0.05). In further multivariable analysis, independent predictors of prolonged LOS included older age, increased preexisting comorbidity, the AR/PSF approach, and long-segment fusions (all p < 0.05). Lastly, the likelihood of increased hospital costs (at or above the 90th percentile for LOS, 14 days) was increased by older age, female sex, Medicaid insurance status, highest quartile of median household income, AR/PSF approach, long-segment fusion, and blood transfusion (all p < 0.05). In multivariable analysis, the use of autograft was associated with a lower likelihood of complication occurrence and prolonged LOS (both p < 0.05).

CONCLUSIONS

Increasing use of IONM and posterior-only approaches may combat the high complication rates in NMS. The trends of increasing comorbidities, blood transfusions, and total costs in spinal fusion surgery for pediatric NMS may indicate an increasingly aggressive approach to these cases.

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Richard P. Menger, Piyush Kalakoti, Andrew J. Pugely, Anil Nanda and Anthony Sin

OBJECTIVE

Adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS) is the most common form of scoliosis. Limited literature exists defining risk factors associated with outcomes during initial hospitalization in these patients. In this study, the authors investigated patient demographics, clinical and hospital characteristics impacting short-term outcomes, and costs in adolescent patients undergoing surgical deformity correction for idiopathic scoliosis. Additionally, the authors elucidate the impact of hospital surgical volume on outcomes for these patients.

METHODS

Using the National Inpatient Sample database and appropriate International Classification of Diseases, 9th Revision codes, the authors identified adolescent patients (10–19 years of age) undergoing surgical deformity correction for idiopathic scoliosis during 2001–2014. For national estimates, appropriate weights provided by the Agency of Healthcare Research and Quality were used. Multivariable regression techniques were employed to assess the association of risk factors with discharge disposition, postsurgical neurological complications, length of hospital stay, and hospitalization costs.

RESULTS

Overall, 75,106 adolescent patients underwent surgical deformity correction. The rates of postsurgical complications were estimated at 0.9% for neurological issues, 2.8% for respiratory complications, 0.8% for cardiac complications, 0.4% for infections, 2.7% for gastrointestinal complications, 0.1% for venous thromboembolic events, and 0.1% for acute renal failure. Overall, patients stayed at the hospital for an average of 5.72 days (median 5 days) and on average incurred hospitalization costs estimated at $54,997 (median $47,909). As compared with patients at low-volume centers (≤ 50 operations/year), those undergoing surgical deformity correction at high-volume centers (> 50/year) had a significantly lower likelihood of an unfavorable discharge (discharge to rehabilitation) (OR 1.16, 95% CI 1.03–1.30, p = 0.016) and incurred lower costs (mean $33,462 vs $56,436, p < 0.001) but had a longer duration of stay (mean 6 vs 5.65 days, p = 0.002). In terms of neurological complications, no significant differences in the odds ratios were noted between high- and low-volume centers (OR 1.23, 95% CI 0.97–1.55, p = 0.091).

CONCLUSIONS

This study provides insight into the clinical characteristics of AIS patients and their postoperative outcomes following deformity correction as they relate to hospital volume. It provides information regarding independent risk factors for unfavorable discharge and neurological complications following surgery for AIS. The proposed estimates could be used as an adjunct to clinical judgment in presurgical planning, risk stratification, and cost containment.

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Chelsea J. Hendow, Alexander Beschloss, Alejandro Cazzulino, Joseph M. Lombardi, Philip K. Louie, Andrew H. Milby, Andrew J. Pugely, Ali K. Ozturk, Steven C. Ludwig and Comron Saifi

OBJECTIVE

The objective of this study was to investigate revision burden and associated demographic and economic data for atlantoaxial (AA) fusion procedures in the US.

METHODS

Patient data from the National Inpatient Sample (NIS) database for primary AA fusion were obtained from 1993 to 2015, and for revision AA fusion from 2006 to 2014 using ICD-9 procedure codes. Data from 2006 to 2014 were used in comparisons between primary and revision surgeries. National procedure rates, hospital costs/charges, length of stay (LOS), routine discharge, and mortality rates were investigated.

RESULTS

Between 1993 and 2014, 52,011 patients underwent primary AA fusion. Over this period, there was a 111% increase in annual number of primary surgeries performed. An estimated 1372 patients underwent revision AA fusion between 2006 and 2014, and over this time period there was a 6% decrease in the number of revisions performed annually. The 65–84 year-old age group increased as a proportion of primary AA fusions in the US from 35.9% of all AA fusions in 1997 to 44.2% in 2015, an increase of 23%. The mean hospital cost for primary AA surgery increased 32% between 2006 and 2015, while the mean cost for revision AA surgery increased by 35% between 2006 and 2014. Between 2006 and 2014, the mean hospital charge for primary AA surgery increased by 67%; the mean charge for revision surgery over that same period increased by 57%. Between 2006 and 2014, the mean age for primary AA fusions was 60 years, while the mean age for revision AA fusions was 52 years. The mean LOS for both procedures decreased over the study period, with primary AA fusion decreasing by 31% and revision AA fusion decreasing by 24%. Revision burden decreased by 21% between 2006 and 2014 (mean 4.9%, range 3.2%–6.4%). The inpatient mortality rate for primary AA surgery decreased from 5.3% in 1993 to 2.2% in 2014.

CONCLUSIONS

The number of primary AA fusions between 2006 and 2014 increased 22%, while the number of revision procedures has decreased 6% over the same period. The revision burden decreased by 21%. The inpatient mortality rate decreased 62% (1993–2014) to 2.2%. The increased primary fusion rate, decreased revision burden, and decreased inpatient mortality determined in this study may suggest an improvement in the safety and success of primary AA fusion.