Comparative analysis of perioperative complications between a multicenter prospective cervical deformity database and the Nationwide Inpatient Sample database.


Background context

Complication rates for adult cervical deformity are poorly characterized given the complexity and heterogeneity of cases.


To compare perioperative complication rates following adult cervical deformity corrective surgery between a prospective multicenter database for patients with cervical deformity (PCD) and the Nationwide Inpatient Sample (NIS).

Study design/setting

Retrospective review of prospective databases.

Patient sample

A total of 11,501 adult patients with cervical deformity (11,379 patients from the NIS and 122 patients from the PCD database).

Outcome measures

Perioperative medical and surgical complications.


The NIS was queried (2001-2013) for cervical deformity discharges for patients ≥18 years undergoing cervical fusions using International Classification of Disease, Ninth Revision (ICD-9) coding. Patients ≥18 years from the PCD database (2013-2015) were selected. Equivalent complications were identified and rates were compared. Bonferroni correction (p<.004) was used for Pearson chi-square. Binary logistic regression was used to evaluate differences in complication rates between databases.


A total of 11,379 patients from the NIS database and 122 patiens from the PCD database were identified. Patients from the PCD database were older (62.49 vs. 55.15, p<.001) but displayed similar gender distribution. Intraoperative complication rate was higher in the PCD (39.3%) group than in the NIS (9.2%, p<.001) database. The PCD database had an increased risk of reporting overall complications than the NIS (odds ratio: 2.81, confidence interval: 1.81-4.38). Only device-related complications were greater in the NIS (7.1% vs. 1.1%, p=.007). Patients from the PCD database displayed higher rates of the following complications: peripheral vascular (0.8% vs. 0.1%, p=.001), gastrointestinal (GI) (2.5% vs. 0.2%, p<.001), infection (8.2% vs. 0.5%, p<.001), dural tear (4.1% vs. 0.6%, p<.001), and dysphagia (9.8% vs. 1.9%, p<.001). Genitourinary, wound, and deep veinthrombosis (DVT) complications were similar between databases (p>.004). Based on surgicalapproach, the PCD reported higher GI and neurologic complication rates for combined anterior-posterior procedures (p<.001). For posterior-only procedures, the NIS had more device-related complications (12.4% vs. 0.1%, p=.003), whereas PCD had more infections (9.3% vs. 0.7%, p<.001).


Analysis of the surgeon-maintained cervical database revealed higher overall and individual complication rates and higher data granularity. The nationwide database may underestimate complications of patients with adult cervical deformity (ACD) particularly in regard to perioperative surgical details owing to coding and deformity generalizations. The surgeon-maintained database captures the surgical details, but may underestimate some medical complications.





Published Version (Please cite this version)


Publication Info

Passias, Peter G, Samantha R Horn, Cyrus M Jalai, Gregory Poorman, Olivia J Bono, Subaraman Ramchandran, Justin S Smith, Justin K Scheer, et al. (2017). Comparative analysis of perioperative complications between a multicenter prospective cervical deformity database and the Nationwide Inpatient Sample database. The spine journal : official journal of the North American Spine Society, 17(11). pp. 1633–1640. 10.1016/j.spinee.2017.05.018 Retrieved from

This is constructed from limited available data and may be imprecise. To cite this article, please review & use the official citation provided by the journal.


Peter Passias

Instructor in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery

Christopher Ignatius Shaffrey

Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery

I have more than 25 years of experience treating patients of all ages with spinal disorders. I have had an interest in the management of spinal disorders since starting my medical education. I performed residencies in both orthopaedic surgery and neurosurgery to gain a comprehensive understanding of the entire range of spinal disorders. My goal has been to find innovative ways to manage the range of spinal conditions, straightforward to complex. I have a focus on managing patients with complex spinal disorders. My patient evaluation and management philosophy is to provide engaged, compassionate care that focuses on providing the simplest and least aggressive treatment option for a particular condition. In many cases, non-operative treatment options exist to improve a patient’s symptoms. I have been actively engaged in clinical research to find the best ways to manage spinal disorders in order to achieve better results with fewer complications.

Unless otherwise indicated, scholarly articles published by Duke faculty members are made available here with a CC-BY-NC (Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial) license, as enabled by the Duke Open Access Policy. If you wish to use the materials in ways not already permitted under CC-BY-NC, please consult the copyright owner. Other materials are made available here through the author’s grant of a non-exclusive license to make their work openly accessible.