Impact of Glycemic Control on Morbidity and Mortality in Adult Idiopathic Scoliosis Patients Undergoing Spinal Fusion

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Study Design:

This is a retrospective analysis of administrative database.


To elucidate the effect of glycemic control on surgical outcomes of middle-aged and elderly idiopathic scoliosis patients undergoing spinal fusion surgery.

Summary of Background Data:

Diabetes mellitus (DM) is a condition thought to adversely affect outcomes of spine surgery. However, no study has stratified glycemic control levels and their impact on outcome for idiopathic scoliosis patients receiving a spinal fusion surgery. Previous studies may have reported higher than true rates of complications for controlled diabetic patients, who are the majority of diabetic patients.

Materials and Methods:

The Nationwide Inpatient Sample was queried from years 2002 to 2011. We extracted idiopathic scoliosis patients older than 45 years of age that received spinal fusion and analyzed complications and outcomes variables among 3 cohorts: nondiabetic patients, controlled diabetics, and uncontrolled diabetics. Multivariate analyses were used to assess whether glycemic control was a risk factor for adverse postoperative outcomes.


Controlled diabetics had significantly increased rates of acute renal failure (ARF), while uncontrolled diabetics had significantly increased rates of acute postoperative hemorrhage. In multivariate analyses controlling for patient factors and comorbidities, controlled DM was found to be an independent predictor of ARF [odds ratio (OR), 1.863; 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.346–2.579; P=0.0002), and uncontrolled DM was found to be a significant risk factor for acute postoperative hemorrhage (OR, 2.182; 95% CI, 1.192–3.997; P=0.0115), ARF (OR, 4.839; 95% CI, 1.748–13.392; P=0.0024), deep vein thrombosis (OR, 5.825; 95% CI, 1.329–25.522, P=0.0194) and in-patient mortality (OR, 8.889; 95% CI, 1.001–78.945; P=0.0499).


Controlled DM was found to be a risk factor for ARF in adult idiopathic scoliosis patients undergoing spinal fusion surgery, while uncontrolled DM was shown to be a risk factor for postoperative hemorrhage, ARF, deep vein thrombosis, and mortality. The present study provides valuable data for better informed consent for patients with diabetes considering surgery for idiopathic scoliosis.

Level of Evidence:

Level III.

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