A comparison of readmission and complication rates and charges of inpatient and outpatient multiple-level anterior cervical discectomy and fusion surgeries in the Medicare population

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OBJECTIVE

This study aims to assess the relationship of comorbidities and postoperative complications to rates of readmission for geriatric patients undergoing anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF) involving more than 2 levels on an inpatient or outpatient basis. With the rising costs of healthcare in the United States, understanding the safety and efficacy of performing common surgical interventions (including ACDF) as outpatient procedures could prove to be of great economic impact.Objective This study aims to assess the effect of comorbidities and postoperative complications on the rates of readmission of geriatric patients undergoing multilevel anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF) procedures (i.e., ACDF involving 3 or more levels) on an inpatient or outpatient basis. Same-day surgery has been demonstrated to be a safe and cost-effective alternative to the traditional inpatient option for many surgical interventions. With the rising costs of healthcare, understanding the safety and efficacy of performing common surgical interventions as outpatient procedures could prove to be of great economic impact.

METHODS

The study population included total of 2492 patients: 2348 inpatients and 144 outpatients having ACDF procedures involving 3 or more levels in the Medicare Standard Analytical Files database. Age, sex, comorbidities, postoperative complications, readmission rates, and surgical procedure charges were compared between both cohorts. For selected variables, logistic regression was used to model odds ratios for various comorbidities against readmission rates for both inpatient and outpatient cohorts. Chi-square tests were also calculated to compare these comorbidities with readmission in each cohort.

RESULTS

Overall complication rates within 30 postoperative days were greater for inpatients than for outpatients (44.2% vs 12.5%, p < 0.001). More inpatients developed postoperative urinary tract infection (7.9% vs 0%, p < 0.001), and the inpatient cohort had increased risk of readmission with comorbidities of anemia (OR 1.52, p < 0.001), smoking (OR 2.12, p < 0.001), and BMI ≥ 30 (OR 1.43, p < 0.001). Outpatients had increased risk of readmission with comorbidities of anemia (OR 2.78, p = 0.047), diabetes mellitus type 1 or 2 (OR 3.25, p = 0.033), and BMI ≥ 30 (OR 3.95, p = 0.008). Inpatients also had increased readmission risk with a postoperative complication of surgical site infection (OR 2.38, p < 0.001). The average charges for inpatient multilevel ACDF were significantly higher than for multilevel ACDF performed on an outpatient basis ($12,734.27 vs $12,152.18, p = 0.0019).

CONCLUSIONS

This study suggests that ACDF surgery involving 3 or more levels performed as an outpatient procedure in the geriatric population may be associated with lower rates of readmissions, complications, and surgical charges.

ABBREVIATIONS ACDF = anterior cervical discectomy and fusion; BMI = body mass index; CPT = Current Procedural Terminology; DM = diabetes mellitus; DVT = deep vein thrombosis; ICD-9 = International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision; MI = myocardial infarction; PE = pulmonary embolism; SASD = State Ambulatory Surgery and Services Database; UTI = urinary tract infection.

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Article Information

Correspondence Owoicho Adogwa: Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, IL. owoicho.adogwa@gmail.com.

INCLUDE WHEN CITING Published online June 7, 2019; DOI: 10.3171/2019.3.SPINE181257.

Disclosures The authors report no conflict of interest concerning the materials or methods used in this study or the findings specified in this paper.

© AANS, except where prohibited by US copyright law.

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