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Outcomes for Spinal Fusion Surgery Worse in Black Patients

Postop complications, readmission, longer stay, higher costs more likely compared with white patients

FRIDAY, Jan. 24, 2020 (HealthDay News) — Black patients undergoing lumbar spinal fusion surgery are more likely to have postoperative complications, be readmitted, have longer lengths of stay, and have higher total hospital charges compared with white patients, according to a study published online Jan. 15 in Spine.

Dima El Halawani Aladdin, M.D., from the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, and colleagues used data from the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project State Inpatient Databases (for California, Florida, New York, Maryland, and Kentucky from 2007 through 2014) to identify 267,976 patient discharge records for inpatient lumbar spine surgery. The association between race and inpatient postoperative complications was examined.

The researchers found that black patients were more likely than white patients to experience spine surgery-specific complications (adjusted odds ratio [aOR], 1.08) and general postoperative complications (aOR, 1.14). Black patients also had increased odds of 30-day readmissions (aOR, 1.13), 90-day readmissions (aOR, 1.07), longer length of stay (adjusted incidence rate ratio [aIRR], 1.15), and higher total charges (aIRR, 1.08) compared with white patients.

“Our results reaffirm the concern that black race remains a social determinant of health impacting equity in surgical outcomes,” the authors write.

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