Pulmonary embolism (PE) is a rare but serious event that may occur after spinal surgery.To correlate PE incidence after spinal arthrodesis with surgical approach, region of spine operated, and primary spinal pathology. To identify PE incidence trends in this population.The Nationwide Inpatient Sample was queried using ICD-9 codes (81.01-81.08) for spinal fusion procedures over a 21-year period (1988-2008). Other data points included PE occurrence, surgical approach, spinal region, surgical indication, and mortality. Multivariate and relational analyses were performed.4,505,556 patients were identified and 9530 had PE (incidence=0.2%). PE patients had higher odds of combined A/P surgical approaches than posterior approaches (OR=1.97; 95% CI=1.66-2.33), and PE incidence was higher in thoracic versus cervical or lumbar fusions (OR=2.54; 95% CI=2.14-3.02). PE was more likely with vertebral fracture (OR=1.85; 95% CI=1.53-2.23) and SCI with vertebral fracture (OR=4.59; 95% CI=3.72-5.70) than without trauma. Between 1988 and 2008, the PE incidence remained stable for patients with intervertebral disk degeneration and scoliosis, but increased for patients with vertebral fracture, and SCI with vertebral fracture. There was greater inpatient mortality with occurrence of a PE (OR=12.92; 95% CI=10.55-14.41).Although the incidence of PE in spinal arthrodesis patients is only 0.2%, there is a higher incidence after combined A/P approaches, thoracic procedures, and trauma surgical procedures. Despite the overall PE incidence remaining stable since 1988, incidence steadily increased among trauma patients. Further research is needed to explain these trends, given the context of changing patient populations and improving surgical techniques and prophylaxis measures. Greater caution and prophylaxis among trauma patients may be warranted.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.clineuro.2012.01.044
View details for Web of Science ID 000307855800013
View details for PubMedID 22386262