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Postoperative Surgical Infection After Spinal Surgery in Rheumatoid Arthritis.

Orthopedics 2016 May 2
Individuals with rheumatoid arthritis are at higher risk for infection than the general population, and surgical site infection after spinal surgery in this population can result in clinically significant complications. The goal of this study was to identify risk factors for acute surgical site infection after spinal surgery in patients with rheumatoid arthritis who were treated with nonbiologic (conventional) disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) alone or with biologic DMARDs. All patients treated with biologic agents were treated with nonbiologic agents as well. The authors performed a retrospective, single-center review of 47 consecutive patients with rheumatoid arthritis who underwent spinal surgery and had follow-up of 3 months or longer. The incidence of surgical site infection was examined, and multivariate logistic regression analysis was performed to test the association of surgical site infection with putative risk factors, including the use of biologic agents, methotrexate, and prednisolone, as well as the duration of rheumatoid arthritis, the presence of diabetes, patient age, length of surgery, and number of operative levels. After spinal surgery, 14.89% (7 of 47) of patients had surgical site infection. Use of methotrexate and/or prednisolone, patient age, diabetes, duration of rheumatoid arthritis, length of surgery, number of operative levels, and use of biologic DMARDs did not significantly increase the risk of infection associated with spinal surgery. All patients who had surgical site infection had undergone spinal surgery with instrumentation. The findings show that greater attention to preventing surgical site infection may be needed in patients with rheumatoid arthritis who undergo spinal surgery with instrumentation. To the authors' knowledge, this is the first study to show that the use of biologic agents did not increase the incidence of surgical site infection after spinal surgery in patients with rheumatoid arthritis. [Orthopedics. 2016; 39(3):e430-e433.].

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