The Effects of Preoperative Steroid Therapy on Perioperative Morbidity and Mortality After Adult Spinal Deformity Surgery

Samuel J.W. White, William A. Ranson, Brian Cho, Zoe B. Cheung, Ivan Ye, Oscar Carrillo, Jun S. Kim, Samuel K. Cho

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10 Scopus citations


Study Design: Retrospective cohort analysis. Objectives: To identify the effects of preoperative steroid therapy on 30-day perioperative complications after adult spinal deformity (ASD) surgery. Summary of Background Data: Chronic steroid therapy has demonstrated therapeutic effects in the treatment of various medical conditions but is also known to be associated with surgical complications. There remains a gap in the literature regarding the impact of chronic steroid therapy in predisposing patients to perioperative complications after elective surgery for ASD. Methods: We performed a retrospective analysis of data from the 2008-2015 American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (ACS-NSQIP) database. Patients were divided into two groups based on preoperative steroid therapy. Differences in baseline patient characteristics, comorbidities, and operative variables were assessed. Univariate analysis was performed to compare the incidence of perioperative complications. Multivariate stepwise logistic regression models were then used to adjust for baseline patient and operative variables in order to identify perioperative complications that were associated with preoperative steroid therapy. Results: We identified 7,936 patients who underwent surgery for ASD, of which 418 (5.3%) were on preoperative steroid therapy. Preoperative steroid therapy was an independent risk factor for four perioperative complications, including mortality (odds ratio [OR] 2.42, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.30, 4.51; p =.005), wound dehiscence (OR 3.12, 95% CI 1.45, 6.70; p =.004), deep vein thrombosis (DVT) (OR 2.10, 95% CI 1.24, 3.55; p =.006), and blood transfusion (OR 1.34, 95% CI 1.08, 1.66; p <.007). Conclusions: Patients on preoperative steroid therapy are at increased risk of 30-day mortality, wound dehiscence, DVT, and blood transfusion after surgery for ASD. An interdisciplinary approach to the perioperative management of steroid regimens is critical. Level of Evidence: Level III.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)779-787
Number of pages9
JournalSpine Deformity
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2019


  • Adult spinal deformity
  • Corticosteroid
  • Glucocorticoid
  • Perioperative complication
  • Steroid


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