Retrospective cohort review.
The aim of this study is to investigate whether patient race is an independent predictor of unplanned 30-day hospital readmission after elective spine surgery.
Summary of Background Data.
Racial disparities are known to exist for many aspects of surgical care. However, it is unknown if disparities exist in 30-day readmissions after elective spine surgery, an area that is becoming a prime focus for clinical leaders and policymakers.
Records of 600 patients undergoing elective spine surgery at a major academic medical center were reviewed. We identified all unplanned readmissions within 30 days of discharge. Unplanned readmissions were defined to have occurred as a result of either a surgical or a nonsurgical complication. Patient's records were reviewed to determine the cause of readmission and the length of hospital stay. The main outcome measure was risk-adjusted odds of all-cause 30-day readmission. We used multivariate logistic regression to determine if Black patients had an increased likelihood of 30-day readmission compared with White patients.
Baseline characteristics were similar between both groups. Black patients had higher readmission rates than White patients (10.56% vs. 7.86%, P = 0.04). In a univariate analysis, race, body mass index, sex, patient age, smoking, diabetes, and fusion levels were associated with increased 30-day readmission rates. However, in a multivariate logistic regression model, race was an independent predictor of 30-day readmission after elective spine surgery. In addition, no significant differences in baseline, 1-year and 2-year patient reported outcomes measures were observed between both groups.
This study suggests that Black patients are more likely to be readmitted within 30-days of discharge after elective spine surgery. Efforts at reducing disparities should focus not only on race-based measures but also effective post discharge care.
Level of Evidence: 3