BACKGROUND: Surgery for cervical spondylotic myelopathy (CSM) is generally safe and effective. Nonetheless, complications occur in 11% to 38% of patients. Knowledge of important predictors of complications will help clinicians identify high-risk patients and institute prevention and management strategies.
OBJECTIVE: To identify clinical and surgical predictors of perioperative complications in CSM patients.
METHODS: Four hundred seventy-nine surgical CSM patients were enrolled in the prospective CSM-International study at 16 sites. A panel of physicians reviewed all adverse events and classified each as related or unrelated to surgery. Univariate analyses were performed to determine differences between patients who experienced a perioperative complication and those who did not. A complication prediction rule was developed using multiple logistic regression.
RESULTS: Seventy-eight patients experienced 89 perioperative complications (16.25%). On univariate analysis, the major clinical risk factors were ossification of the posterior longitudinal ligament (OPLL) (P = .055), number of comorbidities (P = .002), comorbidity score (P = .006), diabetes mellitus (P = .001), and coexisting gastrointestinal (P = .039) and cardiovascular (P= .046) disorders. Patients undergoing a 2-stage surgery (P = .002) and those with a longer operative duration (P = .001) were at greater risk of perioperative complications. A final prediction model consisted of diabetes mellitus (odds ratio [OR] = 1.96, P = .060), number of comorbidities (OR = 1.20, P = .069), operative duration (OR = 1.07, P = .002), and OPLL (OR = 1.75, P = .040).
CONCLUSION: Surgical CSM patients have a higher risk of perioperative complications if they have a greater number of comorbidities, coexisting diabetes mellitus, OPLL, and a longer operative duration. Surgeons can use this information to discuss the risks and benefits of surgery with patients, to plan case-specific preventive strategies, and to ensure appropriate management in the perioperative period.