Venous thromboembolism after thoracic/thoracolumbar spinal fusion

Melanie G.Hayden Gephart, Corinna C. Zygourakis, Robert T. Arrigo, Paul S.A. Kalanithi, Shivanand P. Lad, Maxwell Boakye

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


Objective: Venous thromboembolism (VTE), which includes deep venous thrombosis and pulmonary embolism, is a serious and potentially fatal surgical complication. The goal of our study was to examine preoperative characteristics, incidence, and outcomes of patients with VTE after elective thoracic/thoracolumbar level spine fusion. Methods: We identified 430,081 patients from the Nationwide Inpatient Sample database who underwent spinal fusion between 2002 and 2008. Patients undergoing thoracic/thoracolumbar level fusion (n = 8617) were found to have the greatest concurrent rate of VTE. We then performed multivariate analyses on this cohort to identify predictors of and outcomes after VTE in patients undergoing thoracic/thoracolumbar level fusion. Results: The overall VTE rate in spinal fusion surgery was 0.40% (cervical = 0.22%, thoracic/thoracolumbar = 1.90%, lumbar/lumbosacral = 0.49%, re-fusions = 0.64%, and fusions not otherwise specified = 0.84%). On multivariate logistic regression analysis of patients undergoing spinal fusion at the thoracic/thoracolumbar level, increasing age, Medicare insurance coverage (vs. private insurance), urban teaching hospital (vs. urban nonteaching hospital), combined anterior/posterior surgical approach (vs. posterior-only approach), and the presence of congestive heart failure or weight loss (Elixhauser comorbidity groups) were each independently associated with an increased odds ratio of VTE complication. VTE after thoracic/thoracolumbar surgery was significantly associated with longer hospital stays (16.6 vs. 6.74 days), increased total hospital costs ($260,208 vs. $115,474), and increased mortality (4.33% vs. 0.33%). Conclusions: Multivariate logistic regression analysis reveals age, insurance status, hospital type, combined anterior/posterior surgical approach, and the presence of congestive heart failure or weight loss to be independently associated with an increased odds ratio of VTE complication. This complication is associated with increased hospital costs, length of stay, and overall mortality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)545-552
Number of pages8
JournalWorld neurosurgery
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Deep-venous thrombosis
  • Pulmonary embolism
  • Spine surgery
  • Thoracic
  • Thoracolumbar
  • Venous thromboembolism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


Dive into the research topics of 'Venous thromboembolism after thoracic/thoracolumbar spinal fusion'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this