Hypoalbuminemia as an Independent Risk Factor for Perioperative Complications Following Surgical Decompression of Spinal Metastases

Awais K. Hussain, Zoe B. Cheung, Khushdeep S. Vig, Kevin Phan, Mauricio C. Lima, Jun S. Kim, John Di Capua, Deepak A. Kaji, Varun Arvind, Samuel K. Cho

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Study Design: Retrospective cohort study. Objective: Malnutrition has been shown to be a risk factor for poor perioperative outcomes in multiple surgical subspecialties, but few studies have specifically investigated the effect of hypoalbuminemia in patients undergoing operative treatment of metastatic spinal tumors. The aim of this study was to assess the role of hypoalbuminemia as an independent risk factor for 30-day perioperative mortality and morbidity after surgical decompression of metastatic spinal tumors using the American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (ACS-NSQIP) database from 2011 to 2014. Methods: We identified 1498 adult patients in the ACS-NSQIP database who underwent laminectomy and excision of metastatic extradural spinal tumors. Patients were categorized into normoalbuminemic and hypoalbuminemic (ie, albumin level <3.5 g/dL) groups. Univariate and multivariate regression analyses were performed to examine the association between preoperative hypoalbuminemia and 30-day perioperative mortality and morbidity. Subgroup analysis was performed in the hypoalbuminemic group to assess the dose-dependent effect of albumin depletion. Results: Hypoalbuminemia was associated with increased risk of perioperative mortality, any complication, sepsis, intra- or postoperative transfusion, prolonged hospitalization, and non-home discharge. However, albumin depletion was also associated with decreased risk of readmission. There was an albumin level–dependent effect of increasing mortality and complication rates with worsening albumin depletion. Conclusions: Hypoalbuminemia is an independent risk factor for perioperative mortality and morbidity following surgical decompression of metastatic spinal tumors with a dose-dependent effect on mortality and complication rates. Therefore, it is important to address malnutrition and optimize nutritional status prior to surgery.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)321-330
Number of pages10
JournalGlobal Spine Journal
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 May 2019


  • hypoalbuminemia
  • malnutrition
  • perioperative complications
  • spinal metastasis
  • spinal tumor


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