(HealthDay News) — Patients undergoing lumbar spine surgery at teaching hospitals incur longer hospitalizations and have more postoperative complications compared to those treated at nonteaching hospitals, according to a study published in the March 1 issue of Spine.
Sreeharsha V. Nandyala, from Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, and colleagues characterized perioperative complications of 658,616 lumbar spine procedures performed at teaching hospitals (55.9%) and nonteaching hospitals. Data were queried from the Nationwide Inpatient Sample (2002–2011) for patients undergoing an anterior lumbar interbody fusion, posterior lumbar interbody fusion, anterior/posterior lumbar fusion, or lumbar decompression for the treatment of lumbar degenerative pathology.
The researchers found that patients treated at a teaching hospital were older and had a greater comorbidity burden than the nonteaching group (Charlson Comorbidity Index, 2.90 vs. 2.55; P<0.001). There were significantly more multilevel fusion cases (P < 0.001) at teaching hospitals, and the patients treated there incurred a greater mean length of stay (3.7 vs. 3.0 days; P<0.001). There was also a significantly greater incidence of postoperative pulmonary embolism, deep vein thrombosis, infection, and neurological complications among patients treated at teaching hospitals versus the nonteaching cohort (P<0.001). Mean total hospital costs and mortality did not significantly differ between the cohorts.
“Despite these differences, the teaching status was not a significant predictor of in-hospital mortality after a lumbar spine surgery,” the authors write.