Respiratory Compromise After Anterior Cervical Spine Surgery: Incidence, Subsequent Complications, and Independent Predictors.

TitleRespiratory Compromise After Anterior Cervical Spine Surgery: Incidence, Subsequent Complications, and Independent Predictors.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2021
AuthorsBoddapati V, Lee NJ, Mathew J, Held MB, Peterson JR, Vulapalli MM, Lombardi JM, Dyrszka MD, Sardar ZM, Lehman RA, K Riew D
JournalGlobal Spine J
Date Published2021 Jan 07

STUDY DESIGN: Retrospective cohort study.

OBJECTIVE: Respiratory compromise (RC) is a rare but catastrophic complication of anterior cervical spine surgery (ACSS) commonly due to compressive fluid collections or generalized soft tissue swelling in the cervical spine. Established risk factors include operative duration, size of surgical exposure, myelopathy, among others. The purpose of this current study is to identify the incidence and clinical course of patients who develop RC, and identify independent predictors of RC in patients undergoing ACSS for cervical spondylosis.

METHODS: A large, prospectively-collected registry was used to identify patients undergoing ACSS for spondylosis. Patients with posterior cervical procedures were excluded. Baseline patient characteristics were compared using bivariate analysis, and multivariate analysis was employed to compare postoperative complications and identify independent predictors of RC.

RESULTS: 298 of 52,270 patients developed RC (incidence 0.57%). Patients who developed RC had high rates of 30-day mortality (11.7%) and morbidity (75.8%), with unplanned reoperation and pneumonia the most common. The most common reason for reoperations were hematoma evacuation and tracheostomy. Independent patient-specific factors predictive of RC included increasing patient age, male gender, comorbidities such as chronic cardiac and respiratory disease, preoperative myelopathy, prolonged operative duration, and 2-level ACCFs.

CONCLUSION: This is among the largest cohorts of patients to develop RC after ACSS identified to-date and validates a range of independent predictors, many previously only described in case reports. These results are useful for taking preventive measures, identifying high risk patients for preoperative risk stratification, and for surgical co-management discussions with the anesthesiology team.

Alternate JournalGlobal Spine J
PubMed ID33406919