Low Preoperative Lung Functions in Children With Early Onset Scoliosis Predict Postoperative Length of Stay

Klane K White, Viviana Bompadre, Walter F Krengel, Gregory J Redding
Journal of Pediatric Orthopedics 2021 January 20

INTRODUCTION: Children with early onset scoliosis (EOS) undergoing spine surgery often have significant respiratory disease. Preoperative risk assessments that predict an increased length of hospital stay (LOS) for this group have not been previously evaluated.

METHODS: A voluntary protocol using preoperative lung function studies began among participants of a multicenter registry in 2016. Preoperative assessments were standardized to include spirometry, blood hemoglobin levels, serum bicarbonate, albumin and prealbumin; radiographic parameters of the spine, C-EOS classification and need for preoperative pulmonary assistance before initial growth friendly device insertion or "definitive" spine fusion. Primary outcome was LOS postoperatively. Data, including age, diagnosis, and type of surgery, was collected prospectively. Secondary outcomes measured included intensive care unit LOS, requirement for new pulmonary assistance on discharge, and pulmonary complications. Groups were compared using the Fisher exact tests.

RESULTS: Of 525 children enrolled, 101 (20%) had preoperative spirometry. Median age was 8.9 years [interquartile range (IQR): 4.27]. Etiologies for EOS included 29 neuromuscular (28%), 33 idiopathic (32%), 19 syndromic (19%), and 22 congenital (21%) scoliosis. Eighty (78%) had growing rod (GR) insertions; 23 (22%) had spine fusion SF. Eighteen subjects (17%) were hospitalized ≥7 days (median=9 d); 83 had a LOS <7 days (median=3 d). Percentage of forced vital capacity (FVC%) predicted was inversely associated with LOS ≥7 days with a median of 75.3% (IQR: 41.7) for LOS <7 days and 51.7% (IQR: 41.6) (P=0.02). There were no detectable differences in LOS for other preoperative values.

CONCLUSION: FVC predicted ≤50% preoperatively in children undergoing initial growth friendly rod insertion or definitive fusion after growth friendly treatment is associated with an increased risk of postoperative hospital stays ≥7 days. As demonstrated in previous studies, severe restrictive lung disease (FVC% predicted at or below 50%) is associated with increased risk of poorer outcomes for EOS patients.

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