Article Abstract

Discharge to skilled-care or rehabilitation following elective anterior cervical discectomy and fusion increases the risk of 30-day re-admissions and post-discharge complications

Authors: Azeem Tariq Malik, Nikhil Jain, Elizabeth Yu, Jeffery Kim, Safdar N. Khan


Background: With a shift toward value-based and bundled-payment models, identification of areas of cost and quality improvement will be required. Though abundant literature is present on the predictors of discharge destinations, few studies have studied the impact of discharge to a skilled-care or rehabilitation facility on post-discharge outcomes following elective spine surgery.
Methods: The 2015–2016 ACS-NSQIP database was queried using Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) codes 22551 and 22552 to retrieve records of patients undergoing ACDF (≤3 levels). Patients who had concurrent posterior cervical spine procedures and surgery for malignancy and spinal deformity were excluded.
Results: A total of 15,624 patients were finally included for analysis, 459 (2.9%) patients were discharged to a skilled care or rehabilitation facility. Age of ≥65 years, Black or African-American race, partially dependent or totally dependent functional health status, a LOS ≥3 days, a total operative time >150 min, ASA grade > II and inpatient surgery were significant predictors for a discharge to skilled care/rehabilitation facility. Following adjustment for pre-discharge clinical characteristics, discharge to skilled care or rehabilitation was an independent significant risk factor for renal complications (OR =8.22; 95% CI, 1.84–36.7; P=0.006) and 30-day readmissions (OR =1.63; 95% CI, 1.09–2.42; P=0.016).
Conclusions: Discharge to skilled-care or rehabilitation facilities following elective ACDF is associated with higher odds of renal complications and 30-day readmissions. These results stress the importance of careful patient selection prior to discharge to inpatient care facilities to minimize the risk of complications.