Type II Odontoid Fractures in the Elderly Presenting to the Emergency Department: An Assessment of Factors Affecting In-Hospital Mortality and Discharge to Skilled Nursing Facilities. The spine journal : official journal of the North American Spine Society Johnstone, T., Shah, V., Schonfeld, E., Sadeghzadeh, S., Haider, G., Stienen, M., Marianayagam, N. J., Veeravagu, A. 2023


Type II odontoid fractures (OF) are among the most common cervical spine injuries in the geriatric population. However, there is a paucity of literature regarding their epidemiology. Additionally, the optimal management of these injuries remains controversial, and no study has evaluated the short-term outcomes of geriatric patients presenting to emergency departments (ED).This study aims to document the epidemiology of geriatric patients presenting to EDs with type II OFs and determine whether surgical management was associated with early adverse outcomes such as in-hospital mortality and discharge to skilled nursing facilities (SNF).This is a retrospective cohort study.Data was used from the 2016-2020 Nationwide Emergency Department Sample. Patient encounters corresponding to type II OFs were identified. Patients younger than 65 at the time of presentation to the ED and those with concomitant spinal pathology were excluded.The association between the surgical management of geriatric type II OFs and outcomes such as in-hospital mortality and discharge to SNFs.Patient, fracture, and surgical management characteristics were recorded. A propensity score matched cohort was constructed to reduce differences in age, comorbidities, and injury severity between patients undergoing operative and nonoperative management. Additionally, to develop a positive control for the analysis of geriatric patients with type II OFs and no other concomitant spinal pathology, a cohort of patients that had been excluded due to the presence of a concomitant spinal cord injury (SCI) was also constructed. Multivariate regressions were then performed on both the matched and unmatched cohorts to ascertain the associations between surgical treatment and in-hospital mortality, inpatient length of stay, encounter charges, and discharge to SNFs.11,325 encounters were included. The mean total charge per encounter was $60,221. 634 (5.6%) patients passed away during their encounters. 1,005 (8.9%) patients were managed surgically. Surgical management of type II OFs was associated with a 316% increase in visit charge (95% CI: 291%-341%, p<0.001), increased inpatient length of stay (IRR: 2.87, 95% CI: 2.62-3.12, p<0.001), and increased likelihood of discharge to SNFs (OR?=?2.62, 95% CI: 2.26-3.05, p <0.001), but decreased in-hospital mortality (OR?=?0.32, CI: 0.21-0.45, p<0.001). The propensity score matched cohort consisted of 2,010 patients, matching each of the 1,005 that underwent surgery to 1,005 that did not. These cohorts were well balanced across age (78.24 vs. 77.91 years), Elixhauser Comorbidity Index (3.68 vs. 3.71), and Injury Severity Score (30.15 vs 28.93). This matching did not meaningfully alter the associations determined between surgical management and in-hospital mortality (OR?=?0.34, CI?=?0.21-0.55, p<0.001) or SNF discharge (OR?=?2.59, CI?=?2.13-3.16, p<0.001). Lastly, the positive control cohort of patients with concurrent SCI had higher rates of SNF discharge (50.0% vs. 42.6%, p<0.001), surgical management (32.3% vs. 9.7%, p<0.001), and in-hospital mortality (28.9% vs. 5.6%, p<0.001).This study lends insight into the epidemiology of geriatric type II OFs and quantifies risk factors influencing adverse outcomes. Patient informed consent should include a discussion of the protective association between definitive surgical management and in-hospital mortality against potential operative morbidity, increased lengths of hospital stay, and increased likelihood of discharge to SNFs. This information may impact patient treatment selection and decision making.

View details for DOI 10.1016/j.spinee.2023.11.023

View details for PubMedID 38101547