Original Study

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is an independent predictor for 30-day readmissions following 1- to 2-level posterior lumbar fusions

Azeem Tariq Malik, Nikhil Jain, Jeffery Kim, Safdar N. Khan, Elizabeth Yu


Background: Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a common cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide. Past literature has demonstrated that patients with COPD are at an increased risk of post-operative complications. We assessed the impact of COPD on 30-day outcomes following a 1- to 2-level posterior lumbar fusion (PLF).
Methods: The 2012–2016 American College of Surgeons-National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (ACS-NSQIP) database was queried using current procedural terminology (CPT) codes 22612, 22630 and 22633 to identify patients undergoing PLFs. Only patients undergoing a 1- to 2-level PLF for degenerative spine pathologies were included.
Results: In total, 1,123 (4.8%) of 23,481 patients undergoing an elective PLF had a diagnosis of COPD at the time of the surgery. Following adjusted logistic regression analysis, COPD was significantly associated with a longer length of stay of >3 days [odds ratio (OR), 1.40; 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.32–1.48; P=0.008], shorter total operative time (OR, 0.83; 95% CI: 0.73–0.94; P=0.003), discharge to skilled nursing care or rehabilitation facility (OR, 1.28; 95% CI: 1.09–1.51; P=0.002), pneumonia (OR, 2.53; 95% CI: 1.62–3.97; P<0.001) and 30-day readmissions (OR, 1.31; 95% CI: 1.03–1.65; P=0.025).
Conclusions: Patients with COPD are more likely to have a longer length of stay, discharge to nursing care/rehabilitation facility, and higher risk of pneumonia and readmissions within 30-days following 1- and 2-level PLF. Our analysis of a large national cohort of patients highlights the importance of pre-operative and post-operative medical optimization in these high-risk patients.

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