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Panagiotis Kerezoudis, Mohammed Ali Alvi, Daniel S. Ubl, Kristine T. Hanson, William E. Krauss, Fredric B. Meyer, Robert J. Spinner, Elizabeth B. Habermann and Mohamad Bydon

OBJECTIVE

Patient-reported outcomes have been increasingly mandated by regulators and payers to evaluate hospital and physician performance. The purpose of this study is to delineate the differences in patient-reported experience of hospital care for cranial and spinal operations.

METHODS

The authors selected all patients who underwent inpatient, elective cranial or spinal procedures and completed the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) survey at a single, high-volume, tertiary care institution between October 2012 and September 2015. The association of the surgical procedure and diagnosis with various HCAHPS composite measures, calculated across 9 domains using standard top-box methodology, was investigated. Multivariable logistic regression models were fitted for outcomes that were significant with procedure type and diagnosis group on univariate analysis, adjusting for age, sex, case complexity, overall health rating, and education level.

RESULTS

A total of 1484 patients met criteria and returned an HCAHPS survey. Overall, patients undergoing a cranial procedure gave top-box (most favorable) scores more often in pain management measure (66.3% vs 59.6%, p = 0.01) compared with those undergoing spine surgery. Furthermore, despite better discharge scores (93.1% vs 87.1%, p < 0.001), spinal patients were less likely to report excellent health (7.4% vs 12.7%). Lastly, patients with a primary diagnosis of brain or spinal tumor compared with those with degenerative spinal disease and those with other neurosurgical diagnoses provided top-box scores more often regarding communication with doctors (82.7% vs 76.4% vs 75.2%, p = 0.04), pain management (71.8% vs 60.9% vs 59.1%, p = 0.002), and global rating (90.4% vs 84.0% vs 87.3%, p = 0.02). On multivariable analysis, spinal patients had significantly lower odds of reporting top-box scores in pain management (OR 0.67, 95% CI 0.52–0.85; p = 0.001), staff responsiveness (OR 0.68, 95% CI 0.53–0.87; p = 0.002), and global rating (OR 0.59, 95% CI 0.42–0.82; p = 0.002), and significantly higher odds of top-box scoring in discharge information (OR 2.15, 95% CI 1.45–3.18; p < 0.001) than cranial patients. Similarly, brain tumor cases were associated with significantly higher odds of top-box scoring in communication with doctors (OR 1.46, 95% CI 1.01–2.12; p = 0.04), pain management (OR 1.81, 95% CI 1.29–2.55; p < 0.001), staff responsiveness (OR 1.88, 95% CI 1.33–2.66; p < 0.001), and global rating (OR 2.00, 95% CI 1.26–3.17; p = 0.003) compared with degenerative spine cases.

CONCLUSIONS

Significant differences in patient-reported experience with hospital care exist across different cranial and spine surgery patient populations. Overall, spinal patients, particularly those with degenerative spine disease, rated their health and their hospital experience lower relative to cranial patients. Identifying weaker areas of hospital performance in target populations can stimulate quality initiatives that aim to increase the overall hospital score.

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Meghan E. Murphy, Hannah Gilder, Patrick R. Maloney, Brandon A. McCutcheon, Lorenzo Rinaldo, Daniel Shepherd, Panagiotis Kerezoudis, Daniel S. Ubl, Cynthia S. Crowson, William E. Krauss, Elizabeth B. Habermann and Mohamad Bydon

OBJECTIVE

With improving medical therapies for chronic conditions, elderly patients increasingly present as candidates for operative intervention for degenerative diseases of the spine. To date, there is a paucity of studies examining complications in lumbar decompression, without fusion, that include patients older than 80 years. Using a multicenter national database, the authors of this study evaluated lumbar decompression in the elderly, including octogenarians, to evaluate for associations between age and patient outcomes.

METHODS

The 2011–2013 American College of Surgeons' National Surgical Quality Improvement Program data set was queried for patients 65 years and older with diagnosis and procedure codes inclusive of degenerative spine disease and lumbar decompression without fusion. Morbidity and mortality within the 30-day postoperative period were the primary outcomes. Secondary outcomes of interest included unplanned readmission within 30 days or discharge to a nonhome facility. Outcomes and operative characteristics were compared using chi-square tests, Kruskal-Wallis tests, and multivariable logistic regression models.

RESULTS

A total of 8744 patients were identified; of these patients 4573 (52.30%) were 65 years and older. Elderly patients were stratified into 3 age categories: 85 years or older (n = 314), 75–84 years (n = 1663), and 65–74 years (n = 2596). Univariate analysis showed that, compared with age younger than 65 years, increased age was associated with the number of levels (≥ 3), readmissions within 30 days, nonhome discharge, any complication, length of stay, and blood transfusion (all p < 0.001). On multivariable analysis and with younger than 65 years as the reference, increased age was associated with any minor complication (p < 0.001; ≥ 85 years: OR 3.47, 95% CI 1.69–7.13; 75–84 years: OR 2.34, 95% CI 1.45–3.78; and 65–74 years: OR 1.44, 95% CI 0.94–2.20), as well as discharge location other than home (p < 0.001; ≥ 85 years: OR 13.59, 95% CI 9.47–19.49; 75–84 years: OR 5.64, 95% CI 4.33–7.34; and 65–74 years: OR 2.61, 95% CI 2.05–3.32).

CONCLUSIONS

The authors' high-powered, multicenter analysis of lumbar decompression without fusion in the elderly, specifically including patients older than 80 years, demonstrates that increased age is associated with more extensive operations, resulting in longer hospital stays, increased rates of nonhome discharge, and minor complications.