Evaluating Adult Idiopathic Scoliosis as an Independent Risk Factor for Critical Illness in SARS-CoV-2 Infection

Colin D. Lamb, Addison Quinones, Jack Y. Zhang, Gijong Paik, Danielle Chaluts, Matthew Carr, Baron S. Lonner, Konstantinos Margetis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Thoracic spinal deformities may reduce chest wall compliance, leading to respiratory complications. The first SARS-CoV-2 (L-variant) strain caused critical respiratory illness, especially in vulnerable patients. This study investigates the association between scoliosis and SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) disease course severity. Methods: Clinical data of 129 patients treated between March 2020 to June 2021 who received a positive COVID-19 polymerase chain reaction result from Mount Sinai and had a scoliosis ICD-10 code (M41.0–M41.9) was retrospectively analyzed. Degree of coronal plane scoliosis on imaging was confirmed by 2 independent measurers and grouped into no scoliosis (Cobb angle <10°), mild (10°–24°), moderate (25°–39°), and severe (>40°) cohorts. Baseline characteristics were compared, and a multivariable logistic regression controlling for clinically significant comorbidities examined the significance of scoliosis as an independent risk factor for hospitalization, intensive care unit (ICU) admission, acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), mechanical ventilation, and mortality. Results: The no (n = 42), mild (n = 14), moderate (n = 44), and severe scoliosis (n = 29) cohorts differed significantly only in age (P = 0.026). The percentage of patients hospitalized (P = 0.59), admitted to the ICU (P = 0.33), developing ARDS (P = 0.77), requiring mechanical ventilation (P = 1.0), or who expired (P = 0.77) did not significantly differ between cohorts. The scoliosis cohorts did not have a significantly higher likelihood of hospital admission (mild P = 0.19, moderate P = 0.67, severe P = 0.98), ICU admission (P = 0.97, P = 0.94, P = 0.22), ARDS (P = 0.87, P = 0.74, P = 0.94), mechanical ventilation (P = 0.73, P = 0.69, P = 0.70), or mortality (P = 0.74, P = 0.87, P = 0.66) than the no scoliosis cohort. Conclusions: Scoliosis was not an independent risk factor for critical COVID-19 illness. No trends indicated any consistent effect of degree of scoliosis on increased adverse outcome likelihood.

Original languageEnglish
JournalWorld Neurosurgery
StateAccepted/In press - 2023


  • ARDS
  • Admission
  • COVID-19
  • Deformities
  • Hospitalization
  • ICU
  • Mortality
  • Outcome
  • Pneumonia
  • Respiratory
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Scoliosis
  • Spine
  • Ventilation
  • Vertebral


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