8 Things to Know About Cervical Spinal Fusion at Teaching Hospitals


A study recently published in Spine examined data from the Nationwide Inpatient Sample 2002 to 2009 on patients who underwent elective anterior or posterior cervical fusion at teaching hospitals. The study identified 212,385 cervical procedures during that timeframe, with 54.6 percent performed at teaching hospitals. The study authors found:

1. More multilevel and posterior fusions performed at teaching hospitals;
2. Males are more likely to be treated at teaching hospitals than females;
3. Costs at teaching hospitals for cervical spinal fusions are higher than in other settings;
4. Increased hospitalizations at teaching hospitals;
5. Procedure-related complications were increased at teaching hospitals;
6. Teaching hospitals also had increased rate of inhospital mortality;
7. Significant predictors of mortality include age (65 years or older) and multiple comorbidities;
8. Postoperative complications were higher at teaching hospitals than non-teaching hospitals.

In their conclusion, the authors discussed possible reasons for these results, including that more complex procedures are often performed at teaching hospitals, and age and comorbidities were stronger predictors of inhospital mortality than teaching status.

The study was authored by Steven J. Fineberg, MD, Matthew Oglesby, Alpesh Patel, MD, Miguel A. Pelton, and Kern Singh, MD.

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