Does Myelopathy Increase the Morbidity and Mortality of Elective Single-Level Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion?

Neurosurgery 89:109–115, 2021

Myelopathy is thought to be associated with higher morbidity and mortality after anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF); however, the literature investigating this association has limitations.

OBJECTIVE: To investigate the influence of myelopathy on early perioperative complications of elective single-level ACDF.

METHODS: Patients who underwent ACDF between 2016 and 2018 were reviewed from the American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (ACSNSQIP) database. Propensity score matching analysis was used.

RESULTS: Twenty percent of the cohort wasmyelopathic. These patientswere significantly older, had more comorbidities, more likely to be functionally dependent, and to undergo emergency surgery when compared to the nonmyelopathic cohort. When 1969 myelopathic patients were 1:1 propensity matched with nonmyelopathic patients, there was no difference between themyelopathic and nonmyelopathic patients in incidence of postoperative intensive care unit admission or death. Patients in the myelopathic group were significantly more likely to have a nonhome discharge and less likely to be discharged on the first postoperative day. Myelopathic patients had a higher rate of return to operating room within the same admission (2.2%) as well as a higher unplanned readmission rate (4.2%). The total operation time (143 min) and average length of hospital stay (52 h) were significantly higher in the myelopathic group when compared to the nonmyelopathic group (117 min) and (33 h), respectively.

CONCLUSION: Patients with myelopathy who undergo elective single-level ACDF have higher risks of several perioperative events including longer operative time, longer hospital stay, higher return to operating room, and unplanned readmission rates, when compared to nonmyelopathic patients. On the other hand, myelopathic patients did not exhibit higher mortality rate.

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