Spinal Surgery Infection Risk Subject to Many Factors

Other medical conditions, surgery duration, blood counts, ASA class and other factors can hike risk

MONDAY, Aug. 17 (HealthDay News) -- A patient's risk of postoperative wound infection after undergoing spinal surgery can be increased by many factors, including other medical conditions, duration of surgery and red blood cell count, according to a study in the August 1 issue of Spine.

Anand Veeravagu, M.D., of Stanford University School of Medicine in California, and colleagues analyzed data on patients who underwent spinal surgeries from 1997 to 2006, and identified patient and clinical variables affecting the risk for infection.

The researchers found that, compared to uninfected patients, the 3.04 percent of patients with infection had a higher rate for 30-day mortality (1.06 versus 0.5 percent), a higher rate for return to the operating room (37 versus 2.45 percent), and a higher complication rate (1.24 versus 0.05 percent). Factors associated with infection risk were weight loss (odds ratio, 2.14), disseminated cancer (odds ratio, 1.83), American Society of Anesthesiologists' class (odds ratio, 1.66 for class 4 or 5; odds ratio, 1.45 for class 3), insulin-dependent diabetes (odds ratio, 1.50), duration of surgery (odds ratio, 1.40 for greater than six hours; odds ratio, 1.33 for three to six hours), preoperative helical computed tomography less than 36 (odds ratio, 1.37), dependent functional status (odds ratio, 1.36), fusion surgery (odds ratio, 1.24), and current smoking (odds ratio, 1.19).

"The information provided should assist clinicians in recognizing potential risk factors and assessing likelihood of postoperative wound infections in their patients. Awareness of risks will allow institution of steps to mitigate the development of an infection," the authors write.

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Jeff Muise

Jeff Muise

Published on August 17, 2009

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