Drivers of 30-Day Readmission in Elderly Patients (>65 Years Old) After Spine Surgery: An Analysis of 500 Consecutive Spine Surgery Patients

Owoicho Adogwa, Aladine A. Elsamadicy, Jing Han, Isaac O. Karikari, Joseph Cheng, Carlos A. Bagley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Scopus citations


Background Early readmission after spine surgery is being used as a proxy for quality of care. One-fifth of patients are rehospitalized within 30 days after spine surgery, and more than one-third within 90 days; however, there is a paucity of data about the cause of early readmissions in elderly patients after elective spine surgery. Methods A total of 500 elderly patients (>65 years old) undergoing elective spine surgery at a major academic hospital were included in the study. We identified all unplanned readmissions within 30 days of discharge. Unplanned readmissions were defined to have occurred as a result of either a surgical or a nonsurgical complication. Patient records were reviewed to determine the cause of readmission and the length of hospital stay. Results A total of 50 (10%) unplanned early readmissions were identified. The mean ± SD age was 72.54 ± 5.84 years. The mean ± SD number of days from discharge to readmission was 11.02 ± 7.25 days, and the average length of hospital stay for the readmissions was 7.7 days. The majority of patients that were readmitted presented to the emergency department from home (46%), whereas 38% were readmitted from a skilled nursing facility. The most common causes for readmission were infection or a concern for infection (42%) and pain (14%), with 32% of readmissions requiring a return to the operating room. Conclusion Our study suggests that in elderly patients undergoing elective spine surgery, infection or a concern for infection, pain, and altered mental status were the most common primary reasons for unplanned readmission.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)518-522
Number of pages5
JournalWorld Neurosurgery
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017



  • 30-day readmission
  • Elderly
  • Infection
  • Spine
  • Surgery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology

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