(HealthDay News) — In most cases, no action is taken on the basis of patient’s routine postoperative laboratory data after anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF), according to a study published in the September 15 issue of Spine.

Blaine T. Manning, from Rush Medical College in Chicago, and colleagues characterized the utility of obtaining routine postoperative laboratory studies after ACDF. Data were collected for 332 patients (mean age, 51.1 ± 11.7 years) who underwent ACDF for degenerative cervical spine disease.

The researchers found that at one year, 98.1% of patients demonstrated radiographical arthrodesis. The postoperative hemoglobin, hematocrit, blood urea nitrogen, sodium, and calcium levels decreased significantly after a one- or two-level ACDF, while there were increases in glucose and chloride levels compared with preoperative levels (P<0.05). Reduced postoperative potassium levels were seen in association with one-level ACDF (P<0.05). No patients required intraoperative or postoperative blood product transfusion and there was no evidence of postoperative anemia. Based on laboratory values alone, without clinical symptomatology, two patients required postoperative potassium replacement. No complications were seen in association with patient’s hemodynamic status or fluid and electrolyte balance.

“These findings suggest that routine postoperative complete blood counts do not change postoperative management after an ACDF unless intraoperative bleeding is noted or the patient carries risk factors for postoperative hemorrhagic anemia,” the authors write.

Relevant financial activities outside the submitted work were disclosed: consultancy, board membership, travel expenses, royalties.

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