The impact of diabetes mellitus on patients undergoing degenerative cervical spine surgery

Javier Z. Guzman, Branko Skovrlj, John Shin, Andrew C. Hecht, Sheeraz A. Qureshi, James C. Iatridis, Samuel K. Cho

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

60 Scopus citations


Conclusion: Poor glycemic control increases the odds of inpatient mortality and perioperative complications in patients undergoing degenerative cervical spine surgery. Controlling DM before degenerative cervical spine surgery may lead to better outcomes and decreased costs.

Results: The prevalence of controlled and uncontrolled diabetic patients undergoing degenerative cervical spine surgery had been increasing significantly from 2002 to 2011. Compared with patients without diabetes, uncontrolled diabetic patients had significantly increased odds of respiratory, cardiac, and genitourinary complications. Uncontrolled diabetic patients also had significantly increased risk of pulmonary embolism and postoperative infection. Uncontrolled diabetic patients had increased risk of inpatient mortality (odds ratio = 6.39, 95% confidence interval = 4.09-10.00, P < 0.0001) and increased mean length of stay (almost 5 d) compared with nondiabetic patients. Similarly, controlled diabetic patients increased the odds of perioperative complications; however not nearly to the same degree. Controlled diabetic patients extended the mean length of stay by almost a day (P < 0.0001) and significantly increased costs compared with nondiabetic patients.

Summary of Background Data: Diabetes mellitus (DM) is a highly prevalent systemic disease that has been shown to increase morbidity and mortality after spine surgery. Few studies have demonstrated negative effects on patients with DM who undergo cervical spine procedures; however, whether glycemic control influences surgical outcome is still unknown.

Study Design: Retrospective administrative database analysis.

Objective: To determine the impact of glycemic control on perioperative complications and outcomes in patients undergoing degenerative cervical spine surgery.

Methods: The Nationwide Inpatient Sample was queried from 2002 to 2011. Patients who underwent cervical spine surgery for degenerative conditions were identified using the International Classification of Diseases Ninth Revision, Clinical Modification, codes. Three surgical cohorts were chosen: controlled diabetic, uncontrolled diabetic, and patients without diabetes. Patient demographics, surgical procedures, perioperative complications and postoperative outcomes were assessed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1656-1665
Number of pages10
Issue number20
StatePublished - 2014


  • Complications
  • Controlled DM
  • Costs
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Glycemic control
  • Inpatient mortality
  • Length of stay
  • National trends
  • Nationwide Inpatient Sample
  • Outcomes
  • Uncontrolled DM


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