Article Abstract

Utilization of intraoperative neuromonitoring throughout the United States over a recent decade: an analysis of the nationwide inpatient sample

Authors: Joseph L. Laratta, Jamal N. Shillingford, Alex Ha, Joseph M. Lombardi, Hemant P. Reddy, Comron Saifi, Steven C. Ludwig, Ronald A. Lehman, Lawrence G. Lenke

Abstract

Background: To identify temporal changes to the demographics and utilization of intraoperative neuromonitoring (IONM) throughout the United States (U.S.).
Methods: The National Inpatient Sample (NIS) database was queried for IONM of central and peripheral nervous electrical activity (ICD-9-CM 00.94) between 2008 and 2014. The NIS database represents a 20% sample of discharges from U.S. Hospitals, weighted to provide national estimates. Demographic and economic data were obtained which included the annual number of surgeries, age, sex, insurance type, location, and frequency of routine discharge.
Results: The estimated use of IONM of central and peripheral nervous electrical activity increased 296%, from 31,762 cases in 2008 to 125,835 cases in 2014. Based on payer type, privately insured patients (45.0%), rather than Medicare (36.8%) or Medicaid patients (9.2%), were more likely to undergo IONM during spinal procedures. When stratifying by median income for patient zip code, there was a substantial difference in the rates of IONM between low (19.9%) and high-income groups (78.1%). IONM was significantly more likely to be utilized at urban teaching hospitals (72.9%) rather than nonteaching hospitals (25.0%) or rural centers (2.2%).
Conclusions: Over the last decade, there has been a massive increase of 296% in utilization of IONM during spine surgery. This is likely due to its proven benefit in reducing neurologic morbidity in spinal deformity surgery, while introducing minimal additional risk. While IONM may improve patient care, it is still rather isolated to teaching hospitals and patients from higher income zip codes.