Systematic review of risk factors for surgical site infection in pediatric scoliosis surgery

Rajeev Subramanyam, Joshua Schaffzin, Elizabeth M. Cudilo, Marepalli B. Rao, Anna M. Varughese

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Background context Risk factors for surgical site infection (SSI) in children derived from the studies in the adult population are potentially misleading because of differences in pathophysiology and management. Purpose This systematic review addresses the key question: What are the risk factors for SSI in pediatric patients undergoing scoliosis surgery? Study design This is a qualitative systematic literature review. Patient sample Retrospective and observational trials of children undergoing scoliosis surgery reported on the occurrence of risk factors for SSI and the occurrence of SSI. Methods Pubmed (Medline), Ovid Evidence-Based Medicine Reviews (EBMR), Scopus, and Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health (CINAHL) were searched electronically for relevant articles in all the languages between January 1, 1991 and August 27, 2012, and cross-references were checked. Two independent reviewers identified articles and appraised quality with the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) criteria based on a weighted scoring of 0 to 100. Results Our search identified 135 abstracts and 14 studies meeting the inclusion criteria. The AHRQ grading showed that five articles were high quality with a score of greater than 67, and five articles were moderate quality with a score between 50 and 67. The percent agreement between the two independent reviewers was 84%, and kappa agreement score was 0.91 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.78-1.03). There were 76 risk factors identified, of which 22 factors were reported in more than one study. Odds ratios and 95% CIs were reported inconsistently. Pooled p analysis of high- and moderate-quality articles identified five risk factors predictive of SSI: inappropriate antibiotic use (p=.001), neuromuscular scoliosis (p=.014), instrumentation (p=.023), increased hospital stay days (p=.003), and residual postoperative curve (p=.003). Conclusions The systematic review identified inappropriate antibiotic use, neuromuscular scoliosis, instrumentation, increased hospital stay days, and residual postoperative curve as risk factors for SSI after pediatric scoliosis surgery.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1422-1431
Number of pages10
JournalSpine Journal
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Child
  • Data quality
  • Infection
  • Review
  • Risk factors
  • Scoliosis
  • Surgical site
  • Systematic

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Clinical Neurology


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