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Scientific Articles   |    
Variability in Rates of Arthrodesis Procedures for Patients with Cervical Spine Injuries with and without Associated Spinal Cord Injury
Alan H. Daniels, BA1; Melanie Arthur, PhD2; Robert A. Hart, MD3
1 3050 S.W. 10th Avenue, Apartment 43, Portland, OR 97239
2 Department of Sociology, Portland State University, P.O. Box 751, Portland, OR 97207
3 Department of Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation, Oregon Health and Science University, 3181 S.W. Sam Jackson Park Road, Portland, OR 97201. E-mail address: hartro@ohsu.edu
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Disclosure: The authors did not receive any outside funding or grants in support of their research for or preparation of this work. Neither they nor a member of their immediate families received payments or other benefits or a commitment or agreement to provide such benefits from a commercial entity. No commercial entity paid or directed, or agreed to pay or direct, any benefits to any research fund, foundation, division, center, clinical practice, or other charitable or nonprofit organization with which the authors, or a member of their immediate families, are affiliated or associated.
Investigation performed at Oregon Health and Science University and Portland State University, Portland, Oregon

The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, Incorporated
J Bone Joint Surg Am, 2007 Feb 01;89(2):317-323. doi: 10.2106/JBJS.F.00790
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Abstract

Background: Cervical spine injury, with or without spinal cord injury, is an important cause of morbidity and mortality in the United States. While substantial regional variation has been shown in per capita rates of elective cervical spine surgery, similar data regarding arthrodesis rates for traumatic cervical injury have not been reported, to our knowledge. We assessed the rates of cervical spinal arthrodesis for patients who had a cervical spine injury with or without an associated spinal cord injury.

Methods: The data for the present study came from the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project Nationwide Inpatient Sample from 1998 to 2002. International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision, Clinical Modification codes were used to identify patients with a cervical vertebral fracture or dislocation with or without an associated spinal cord injury. Hospitals were grouped according to their teaching status, location (urban or rural), and volume of cervical spine injury patients. The rates of spinal arthrodesis and halo/tong placement were compared for patients within each diagnostic category.

Results: Twenty-eight thousand, five hundred and eighteen patients with a cervical spine injury were analyzed. Spinal arthrodesis was performed for 16.5% of patients who had a cervical fracture without an associated spinal cord injury, for 50.4% of patients who had a cervical spine fracture with an associated spinal cord injury, and for 44.1% of patients who had a cervical dislocation. With the numbers available, the rates of arthrodesis for patients who had a fracture without a spinal cord injury and for patients who had a cervical dislocation were not significantly different between high and low-volume centers, although the rate for patients who had a cervical fracture with a spinal cord injury was significantly higher at high-volume hospitals. The rates of arthrodesis did not vary significantly between urban teaching and nonteaching hospitals, with the numbers available, for patients in any of the three diagnostic categories. Individual hospitals had a threefold to fivefold variation in the arthrodesis rate for patients with a cervical spine injury, depending on the diagnostic category.

Conclusions: The present study demonstrated substantial differences in the rate of arthrodesis for patients with cervical spine trauma, depending on the diagnostic category. The variations in the rates of arthrodesis within diagnostic categories appear to be lower than the previously reported variation in the rates of elective cervical spine procedures.

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    Accreditation Statement
    These activities have been planned and implemented in accordance with the Essential Areas and policies of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) through the joint sponsorship of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, Inc. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons is accredited by the ACCME to provide continuing medical education for physicians.
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