Incidence of perioperative medical complications and mortality among elderly patients undergoing surgery for spinal deformity: analysis of 3519 patients

International Spine Study Group

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE Using 2 complication-reporting methods, the authors investigated the incidence of major medical complications and mortality in elderly patients after surgery for adult spinal deformity (ASD) during a 2-year follow-up period. METHODS The authors queried a multicenter, prospective, surgeon-maintained database (SMD) to identify patients 65 years or older who underwent surgical correction of ASD from 2008 through 2014 and had a minimum 2 years of follow-up (n = 153). They also queried a Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services claims database (MCD) for patients 65 years or older who underwent fusion of 8 or more vertebral levels from 2005 through 2012 (n = 3366). They calculated cumulative rates of the following complications during the first 6 weeks after surgery: cerebrovascular accident, congestive heart failure, deep venous thrombosis, myocardial infarction, pneumonia, and pulmonary embolism. Significance was set at p < 0.05. RESULTS During the perioperative period, rates of major medical complications were 5.9% for pneumonia, 4.1% for deep venous thrombosis, 3.2% for pulmonary embolism, 2.1% for cerebrovascular accident, 1.8% for myocardial infarction, and 1.0% for congestive heart failure. Mortality rates were 0.9% at 6 weeks and 1.8% at 2 years. When comparing the SMD with the MCD, there were no significant differences in the perioperative rates of major medical complications except pneumonia. Furthermore, there were no significant intergroup differences in the mortality rates at 6 weeks or 2 years. The SMD provided greater detail with respect to deformity characteristics and surgical variables than the MCD. CONCLUSIONS The incidence of most major medical complications in the elderly after surgery for ASD was similar between the SMD and the MCD and ranged from 1% for congestive heart failure to 5.9% for pneumonia. These complications data can be valuable for preoperative patient counseling and informed consent.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)534-539
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of neurosurgery. Spine
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 1 2017



  • adult spinal deformity
  • ASD = adult spinal deformity
  • CHF = congestive heart failure
  • CVA = cerebrovascular accident
  • DVT = deep venous thrombosis
  • elderly patients
  • ICD-9-CM = International Classification of Diseases, 9th Revision, Clinical Modification
  • major medical complications
  • MCD = Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services claims database
  • Medicare claims database
  • MI = myocardial infarction
  • NIS = National (Nationwide) Inpatient Sample
  • NSQIP = National Surgical Quality Improvement Program
  • PE = pulmonary embolism
  • SMD = surgeon-maintained database
  • SRS = Scoliosis Research Society
  • surgeon-maintained database

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology

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