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Owoicho Adogwa, Aladine A. Elsamadicy, Victoria D. Vuong, Jared Fialkoff, Joseph Cheng, Isaac O. Karikari and Carlos A. Bagley

OBJECTIVE

Postoperative delirium is common in elderly patients undergoing spine surgery and is associated with a longer and more costly hospital course, functional decline, postoperative institutionalization, and higher likelihood of death within 6 months of discharge. Preoperative cognitive impairment may be a risk factor for the development of postoperative delirium. The aim of this study was to investigate the relationship between baseline cognitive impairment and postoperative delirium in geriatric patients undergoing surgery for degenerative scoliosis.

METHODS

Elderly patients 65 years and older undergoing a planned elective spinal surgery for correction of adult degenerative scoliosis were enrolled in this study. Preoperative cognition was assessed using the validated Saint Louis University Mental Status (SLUMS) examination. SLUMS comprises 11 questions, with a maximum score of 30 points. Mild cognitive impairment was defined as a SLUMS score between 21 and 26 points, while severe cognitive impairment was defined as a SLUMS score of ≤ 20 points. Normal cognition was defined as a SLUMS score of ≥ 27 points. Delirium was assessed daily using the Confusion Assessment Method (CAM) and rated as absent or present on the basis of CAM. The incidence of delirium was compared in patients with and without baseline cognitive impairment.

RESULTS

Twenty-two patients (18%) developed delirium postoperatively. Baseline demographics, including age, sex, comorbidities, and perioperative variables, were similar in patients with and without delirium. The length of in-hospital stay (mean 5.33 days vs 5.48 days) and 30-day hospital readmission rates (12.28% vs 12%) were similar between patients with and without delirium, respectively. Patients with preoperative cognitive impairment (i.e., a lower SLUMS score) had a higher incidence of postoperative delirium. One- and 2-year patient reported outcomes scores were similar in patients with and without delirium.

CONCLUSIONS

Cognitive impairment is a risk factor for the development of postoperative delirium. Postoperative delirium may be associated with decreased preoperative cognitive reserve. Cognitive impairment assessments should be considered in the preoperative evaluations of elderly patients prior to surgery.

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Owoicho Adogwa, Aladine A. Elsamadicy, Victoria D. Vuong, Jessica Moreno, Joseph Cheng, Isaac O. Karikari and Carlos A. Bagley

OBJECTIVE

Geriatric patients undergoing lumbar spine surgery have unique needs due to the physiological changes of aging. They are at risk for adverse outcomes such as delirium, infection, and iatrogenic complications, and these complications, in turn, contribute to the risk of functional decline, nursing home admission, and death. Whether preoperative and perioperative comanagement by a geriatrician reduces the incidence of in-hospital complications and length of in-hospital stay after elective lumbar spine surgery remains unknown.

METHODS

A unique model of comanagement for elderly patients undergoing lumbar fusion surgery was implemented at a major academic medical center. The Perioperative Optimization of Senior Health (POSH) program was launched with the aim of improving outcomes in elderly patients (> 65 years old) undergoing complex lumbar spine surgery. In this model, a geriatrician evaluates elderly patients preoperatively, in addition to performing routine preoperative anesthesia surgical screening, and comanages them daily throughout the course of their hospital stay to manage medical comorbid conditions and coordinate multidisciplinary rehabilitation along with the neurosurgical team. The first 100 cases were retrospectively reviewed after initiation of the POSH protocol and compared with the immediately preceding 25 cases to assess the incidence of perioperative complications and clinical outcomes.

RESULTS

One hundred twenty-five patients undergoing lumbar decompression and fusion were enrolled in this pilot program. Baseline characteristics were similar between both cohorts. The mean length of in-hospital stay was 30% shorter in the POSH cohort (6.13 vs 8.72 days; p = 0.06). The mean duration of time between surgery and patient mobilization was significantly shorter in the POSH cohort compared with the non-POSH cohort (1.57 days vs 2.77 days; p = 0.02), and the number of steps ambulated on day of discharge was 2-fold higher in the POSH cohort (p = 0.04). Compared with the non-POSH cohort, the majority of patients in the POSH cohort were discharged to home (24% vs 54%; p = 0.01).

CONCLUSIONS

Geriatric comanagement reduces the incidence of postoperative complications, shortens the duration of in-hospital stay, and contributes to improved perioperative functional status in elderly patients undergoing elective spinal surgery for the correction of adult degenerative scoliosis.

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Owoicho Adogwa, Aladine A. Elsamadicy, Amanda Sergesketter, Victoria D. Vuong, Ankit I. Mehta, Raul A. Vasquez, Joseph Cheng, Carlos A. Bagley and Isaac O. Karikari

OBJECTIVE

Wound infections following spinal surgery for deformity place a high toll on patients, providers, and the health care system. The prophylactic application of intraoperative vancomycin powder has been shown to lower the infection risk after thoracolumbar decompression and fusion for deformity correction. The purpose of this study was to assess the microbiological patterns of postoperative surgical site infections (SSIs) after prophylactic use of vancomycin powder in adult patients undergoing spinal deformity surgery.

METHODS

All cases involving adult patients who underwent spinal deformity reconstruction at Duke University Medical Center between 2011 and 2013 with a minimum of 3 months of clinical follow-up were retrospectively reviewed. In all cases included in the study, crystalline vancomycin powder was applied to the surgical bed for infection prophylaxis. Baseline characteristics, operative details, rates of wound infection, and microbiological data for each case were gathered by direct medical record review.

RESULTS

A total of 1200 consecutive spine operations were performed for deformity between 2011 and 2013. Review of the associated records demonstrated 34 cases of SSI, yielding an SSI rate of 2.83%. The patients’ mean age (± SD) was 62.08 ± 14.76 years. The patients’ mean body mass index was 30.86 ± 7.15 kg/m2, and 29.41% had a history of diabetes. The average dose of vancomycin powder was 1.41 ± 2.77 g (range 1–7 g). Subfascial drains were placed in 88% of patients. All SSIs occurred within 30 days of surgery, with deep wound infections accounting for 50%. In 74% of the SSIs cultures were positive, with about half the organisms being gram negative, such as Citrobacter freundii, Proteus mirabilis, Morganella morgani, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. There were no adverse clinical outcomes related to the local application of vancomycin.

CONCLUSIONS

Our study suggests that in the setting of prophylactic vancomycin powder use, the preponderance of SSIs are caused by gram-negative organisms or are polymicrobial. Further randomized control trials of prophylactic adjunctive measures are warranted to help guide the choice of empirical antibiotic therapy while awaiting culture data.