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Original Contribution
February 2010

Scoliosis Surgery in Children With Neuromuscular Disease: Findings From the US National Inpatient Sample, 1997 to 2003

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Division of Pediatric Neurosciences, Department of Neurology, Spinal Muscular Atrophy Clinical Research Center, Columbia University Medical Center, New York, New York.

Arch Neurol. 2010;67(2):231-235. doi:10.1001/archneurol.2009.296

Background  Scoliosis is a frequent complication of pediatric neuromuscular disease (NMD). Scoliosis surgery in children with NMD is thought to carry greater morbidity and mortality.

Objectives  To study demographics, comorbidities, outcomes, and hospitalization expenditures among children with NMD undergoing scoliosis surgery.

Design  Using the Kids Inpatient Database, a large all-payer US database of hospital discharges among children and adults younger than 20 years, we studied children undergoing scoliosis surgery between January 1, 1997, and December 31, 2003. Continuous variables were compared by t test, and categorical variables were compared by Pearson product moment correlation χ2 test.

Setting  National database of pediatric hospital discharges.

Patients  Children with and without NMD.

Main Outcome Measures  Demographics, hospital length of stay, and in-hospital mortality associated with scoliosis surgery.

Results  Of 17 780 reported hospitalizations owing to scoliosis surgery, 437 children (2.5%) had NMD. Compared with children undergoing scoliosis surgery for other indications, children with NMD were more likely to be younger (12.4 vs 14.2 years), male (73.5% vs 38.3%), and insured by Medicaid (35.6% vs 20.3%). Comorbidities that were more common among children with NMD included pulmonary complications (lung disease not classified, pulmonary collapse, pulmonary insufficiency, chronic respiratory failure, and ventilator requirement) and cardiovascular complications (cardiomyopathy, hypotension, and tachycardia). Scoliosis surgery in children with NMD was associated with increased hospital length of stay (10.3 vs 7.7 days) and hospitalization expenditures ($80 251 vs $62 154), and higher in-hospital mortality (1.6% vs 0.2%).

Conclusion  Children with NMD have increased hospital length of stay and higher in-hospital mortality associated with scoliosis surgery, highlighting the need for further study of measures that could reduce complications and improve outcomes in this population.