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14.11.2017 | Original Article - Spine | Ausgabe 1/2018

Acta Neurochirurgica 1/2018

Medical complications and mortality in octogenarians undergoing elective spinal fusion surgeries

Zeitschrift:
Acta Neurochirurgica > Ausgabe 1/2018
Autoren:
Sharad Rajpal, E. Lee Nelson, Alan T. Villavicencio, Jayratna Telang, Roshan Kantha, Kara Beasley, Sigita Burneikiene

Abstract

Background

The consequences of suffering postoperative complications in elderly undergoing spinal surgeries may be different compared to younger patients. The primary objective of this study was to identify the types and frequency of medical complications and mortality rates in patients 80 years of age or older undergoing elective spinal fusion surgeries for degenerative spinal disease.

Methods

A prospective observational study with a retrospective chart review was performed, which included all consecutive patients ≥80 years old undergoing elective spinal fusion surgeries from May 2012 to August 2015. We identified a total of 95 patients, of which 39 cervical and 56 lumbar surgeries were performed. There were 41 female and 54 male patients with the mean age of 82.8 years (range, 80–91). The perioperative complications were allocated into the following categories: infection, pulmonary, cardiac, gastrointestinal, hematologic, urologic, neurovascular, thromboembolic, and other. Baseline and postoperative clinical outcome scores were compared to evaluate efficacy.

Results

The mean follow-up time was 14.8 months (range, 5 days to 37 months) with an overall mortality rate of 8.4%. The 30-day, 90-day, and 1-year mortality rates were 2.1, 2.1, and 4.2%, respectively. There were 53.9 and 71.4% patients with complications in the cervical and lumbar patient groups, respectively. The presence of general comorbidities and the number of intervertebral levels predicted the occurrence of perioperative complications. Also, longer OR times were associated with a higher number of complications per patient and the occurrence of a UTI. Dysphagia was a significant predictor in developing pneumonia and atelectasis.

Conclusions

The incidence of perioperative medical complications and mortality rates in octogenarians undergoing elective spinal surgeries are quite high. The benefits of having surgery must be weighed against the risks of not only surgical but also adverse medical events. An informed decision-making process should include discussion of potential postoperative morbidity specific to this patient population in order to guide patient’s acceptance of higher risks and expectations postoperatively. It is also important to identify potential complications and adapt preventive measures in order to help minimize them in this patient population.

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