Surgery for spinal deformity: non-elective admission status is associated with higher cost of care and longer length of stay

William H. Shuman, Emily K. Chapman, Jonathan S. Gal, Sean N. Neifert, Michael L. Martini, Alexander J. Schupper, Colin D. Lamb, Ian T. McNeill, Jeffrey Gilligan, John M. Caridi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Introduction: Surgery is commonly indicated for adult spinal deformity. Annual rates and costs of spinal deformity surgery have both increased over the past two decades. However, the impact of non-elective status on total cost of hospitalization and patient outcomes has not been quantified. Objective: To evaluate the impact of admission status on patient outcomes and healthcare costs in spinal deformity surgery. Methods: All patients who underwent spinal deformity surgery at a single institution between 2008 and 2016 were grouped by admission status: elective, emergency (ED), or transferred. Demographics were compared by univariate analysis. Cost of care and length of stay (LOS) were compared between admission statuses using multivariable linear regression with elective admissions as reference. Multivariate logistic regression was utilized to assess in-hospital complications, discharge destination, and readmission rates. Results: There were 427 spinal deformity surgeries included in this study. Compared to elective patients, ED patients had higher Elixhauser Comorbidity Index scores (p < 0.0001), longer LOS (+ 10.9 days, 97.5% CI 6.1–15.6 days, p < 0.0001), and higher costs (+ $20,076, 97.5% CI $9,073–$31,080, p = 0.0008). Transferred patients had significantly higher Elixhauser scores (p = 0.0002), longer LOS (+ 8.8 days, 97.5% CI 3.0–14.7 days, p < 0.0001), and higher rates of non-home discharge (OR = 15.8, 97.5% CI 2.3–110.0, p = 0.001). Conclusion: Patients admitted from the ED undergoing spinal deformity surgery had significantly higher cost of care and longer LOS compared to elective patients. Transferred patients had significantly longer LOS and a higher rate of non-home discharge compared to elective patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)373-379
Number of pages7
JournalSpine Deformity
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2021


  • Admission status
  • Cost
  • Length of stay
  • Outcomes
  • Spinal deformity
  • Surgery


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