Association of Race With Post-operative Complications After Spinal Fusion in Children With Cerebral Palsy

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Journal Article

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arthrodesis; cerebral palsy (cp); complications; fusion; race; scoliosis


INTRODUCTION: Neuromuscular scoliosis in children with cerebral palsy (CP) can lead to debilitating difficulties with pain, ambulation, sitting, and respiratory or cardiac compromise. Spinal fusion can halt deformity progression, though the decision to undergo surgery involves an individualized risk-benefit assessment. The purpose of this study was to evaluate whether race is a risk factor for patients with CP to experience post-operative complications after spinal fusion. METHODS: This is a retrospective cohort analysis of a national database. Analyses methods include univariate analyses, multivariate regression models, and other ad-hoc tests. RESULTS: There were 3,081 pediatric patients with CP who underwent spinal fusion. Black patients had an increased risk of experiencing any post-operative complication compared to Caucasians (OR 1.322, 95% CI 1.099-1.590). Both Caucasian(p=0.005) and Black (p<0.001) races were risk factors for experiencing medical complications; Black patients had an increased risk compared to Caucasians (OR 1.373, 95% CI 1.130-1.667). Other races had a greater length of ICU stay than Caucasians (median {Mdn}=3.00 days vs Mdn=2.00, p=0.029), and longer total hospital stays than Caucasian and Black patients (Mdn=9.00 days vs Mdn=6.00 days vs Mdn=6.00 days, p<0.001). CONCLUSION: Race is an independent risk factor for pediatric patients with CP to experience medical complications following spinal fusion surgery, with Black patients having an increased risk compared to Caucasians. Further, other races were found to have significantly longer ICU and total hospital length of stay. This study is the first to present race as a risk factor for children with CP to experience increased post-operative complications following spinal fusion and will be valuable in understanding their individualized peri-operative courses and risks.


Orthopaedic Surgery