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Differences in outcomes of cervical spine surgery at teaching versus non-teaching hospitals
Date:6/12/2013

Philadelphia, Pa. (June 12, 2013) - For patients undergoing surgery on the cervical (upper) spine, overall rates of complications and death are higher at teaching hospitals than at non-teaching hospitals, reports a study in the June 1 issue of Spine. The journal is published by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, a part of Wolters Kluwer Health.

But the differences are small and are likely explained by the more-complex surgeries performed and higher-risk patients treated at teaching hospitals, according to the report by Dr Kern Singh of Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, colleagues.

Small Increase in Risks with Cervical Spine Surgery at Teaching Hospitals

Using a national database (the Nationwide Inpatient Sample), the researchers identified more than 212,000 cervical spine surgeries performed at U.S. hospitals between 2002 and 2009. The study focused on cervical fusion procedures, performed to join together one or more vertebrae in the upper spine; and various decompression procedures, done to relieve pressure on spinal nerves.

Dr Singh and colleagues compared complication and mortality rates for patients treated at teaching hospitals, which have residency training programs, versus non-teaching hospitals. The characteristics of the patients treated and procedures performed were compared as well. About 55 percent of the procedures were done at teaching hospitals, even though teaching hospitals accounted for just 30 percent of hospitals in the database.

Risks of both death and complications were higher at teaching hospitals. The mortality rate was twice as high: 1.2 per 1,000 patients at teaching hospitals, compared to 0.6 per 1,000 at non-teaching hospitals. The complication rate was also somewhat higher at teaching hospitals: 24.7
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Contact: Connie Hughes
Connie.Hughes@wolterskluwer.com
646-674-6348
Wolters Kluwer Health
Source:Eurekalert

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