The burden of clostridium difficile afte cervical spine surgery

Javier Z. Guzman, Branko B. Skovrlj, Edward S. Rothenberg, Young Lu, Steven McAnany, Samuel K. Cho, Andrew C. Hecht, Sheeraz A. Qureshi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Study Design Retrospective database analysis Objective The purpose of this study is to investigate incidence, comorbidities, and impact on health care resources of Clostridium difficile infection after cervical spine surgery. Methods A total of 1,602,130 cervical spine surgeries from the Nationwide Inpatient Sample database from 2002 to 2011 were included. Patients were included for study based on International Classification of Diseases Ninth Revision, Clinical Modification procedural codes for cervical spine surgery for degenerative spine diagnoses. Baseline patient characteristics were determined. Multivariable analyses assessed factors associated with increased incidence of C. difficile and risk of mortality. Results Incidence of C. difficile infection in postoperative cervical spine surgery hospitalizations is 0.08%, significantly increased since 2002 (p < 0.0001). The odds of postoperative C. difficile infection were significantly increased in patients with comorbidities such as congestive heart failure, renal failure, and perivascular disease Circumferential cervical fusion (odds ratio [OR] 2.93, p < 0.0001) increased the likelihood of developing C. difficile infection after degenerative cervical spine surgery. C. difficile infection after cervical spine surgery results in extended length of stay (p < 0.0001) and increased hospital costs (p < 0.0001). Mortality rate in patients who develop C. difficile after cervical spine surgery is nearly 8% versus 0.19% otherwise (p < 0.0001). Moreover, multivariate analysis revealed C. difficile to be a significant predictor of inpatient mortality (OR 3.99, p < 0.0001). Conclusions C. difficile increases the risk of in-hospital mortality and costs approximately $6,830,695 per year to manage in patients undergoing elective cervical spine surgery. Patients with comorbidities such as renal failure or congestive heart failure have increased probability of developing infection after surgery. Accepted antibiotic guidelines in this population must be followed to decrease the risk of developing postoperative C. difficile colitis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)314-321
Number of pages8
JournalGlobal Spine Journal
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2016


  • Cervical spine surgery
  • Clostridium difficile
  • Cost
  • Database analysis
  • Infection
  • Mortality
  • Outcome


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