The Risks of Hepatitis C in Association With Cervical Spinal Surgery: Analysis of Radiculopathy and Myelopathy Patients

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Abstract

Study Design:

Retrospective review.

Objective:

To investigate rates of in-hospital postsurgical complications among hepatitis C-infected patients after cervical spinal surgery in comparison with uninfected patients and determine independent risk factors.

Summary of Background Data:

Studying hepatitis C virus (HCV) as a possible risk factor for cervical spine postoperative complications is prudent, given the high prevalence of cervical spondylosis and HCV in older patients. Spine literature is limited with respect to the impact of chronic HCV upon complications after surgery.

Materials and Methods:

Patients who underwent cervical spine surgery for cervical radiculopathy (CR) or cervical myelopathy (CM) from 2005 to 2013 were retrospectively reviewed using the Nationwide Inpatient Sample database. Patients were divided into CR and CM groups, with comparative subgroup analysis of HCV and no-HCV patients. Univariate analysis compared demographics and complications. Binary logistic stepwise regression modeling identified any independent outcome predictors (covariates: age, sex, Deyo score, and surgical approach).

Results:

In total, 227,310 patients (HCV: n=2542; no-HCV: n=224,764) were included. From 2005 to 2013, HCV infection prevalence among all cervical spinal fusion cases increased from 0.8% to 1.2%. HCV patients were more likely to be African American or Hispanic and have Medicare and/or Medicaid (all P<0.001). Overall complication rates among HCV patients with CR or CM increased, specifically related to device (CR: 3.1% vs. 1.9%; CM: 2.9% vs. 1.3%), hematoma/seroma (CR: 1.1% vs. 0.4%; CM: 1.8% vs. 0.8%), and sepsis (CR: 0.4% vs. 0.1%; CM: 1.1% vs. 0.5%) (all P≤0.001). Among CR and CM patients, HCV significantly predicted increased complication rates [odds ratio (OR): 1.268; OR: 1.194], hospital stay (OR: 1.738; OR: 1.861), and hospital charges (OR: 1.516; OR: 1.732; all P≤0.044).

Conclusions:

HCV patients undergoing cervical spinal surgery were found to have increased risks of postoperative complications and increased risk associated with surgical approach. These findings should augment preoperative risk stratification and counseling for HCV patients and their spine surgeons.

Level of Evidence:

Level III.

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