Lumbar Spine Fusion Surgery in Solid Organ Transplant Recipients Is Associated With Increased Medical Complications and Mortality

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Abstract

Study Design.

Retrospective database review.

Objective.

To characterize the outcomes of solid organ transplant (SOT) patients after one- or two-level lumbar fusion surgery.

Summary of Background Data.

Over the past decade advances in SOT patients have improved graft survival. As such, this patient population is increasingly eligible for elective surgery such as lumbar fusion procedures to improve mobility and quality of life. However, the outcomes of spine surgery in this population are not well defined.

Methods.

Data from the full 100% Medicare sample between 2005 and 2014 were used for the study. Patients were included if they had an elective one- or two-level lumbar spine fusion and previous history of renal, heart, liver, or lung SOT patients during this period. SOT patients were compared to non-SOT patients with respect to baseline characteristics, 90-day medical complications, 1-year rate of revision surgery, and 1-year mortality.

Results.

There were 961 patients in the transplant cohort and 258,342 in the non-SOT cohort. Seventy-seven percent of the SOT patients had prior renal transplant. SOT patients had a longer length of stay (P < 0.001), and a higher 30-day readmission rate compared to non-SOT patients (P =  < 0.001). In addition, SOT patients experienced a 23.8% rate of 90-day postoperative major medical complications and 3.0%, 1-year mortality, significantly larger than respective rates in the control population (P < 0.001). One-year infection, revision surgery rates, and wound dehiscence were not significantly different between the two cohorts.

Conclusion.

Spine surgery is associated with significant medical complications and 1-year mortality in the SOT population. Although there may be a substantial benefit from lumbar fusion in the SOT population, judicious patient selection is of paramount importance.

Conclusion.

Level of Evidence: 3

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