Investigating Resource Utilization in Elective Spine Patients with Affective Disorders: A Retrospective Analysis of a Cohort of 1199 Elective Spine Patients




Christian, Zachary Kemon

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BACKGROUND: In elective spine surgery patients, affective disorders (ADs) are associated with increased preoperative opioid use to control pain, longer length of hospital stays, and increased postoperative readmission rates. When assessing healthcare resource utilization, how ADs influence perioperative electronic patient portal (EPP) communication with care providers has not been explored. It is also unclear how ADs influence in-patient and postoperative opioid consumption. OBJECTIVE: To investigate the resource utilization of patients with ADs in our population by analyzing the relationship between AD and both perioperative EPP communication, opioid use, and surgical outcomes. METHODS: The records of 1199 consecutive adult patients who underwent elective spinal surgery between January 2010 and August 2017 at a single institution were retrospectively reviewed for analysis. Primary outcomes included the number of perioperative EPP messages sent, perioperative narcotic use, rates of peri-operative complications, hospital length of stays, Emergency Department visits within 6 weeks, and readmissions within 30 after surgery. In the subanalysis, patients with patient-reported outcome measures for pain, anxiety, and depression within 30 days prior to surgery were used to assess whether preoperative narcotic use correlated with reported preoperative pain levels. RESULTS: Patients with an AD were more likely to take narcotics before surgery and to have active EPP accounts compared to controls. They were also more likely to send postoperative messages, and tended to send more messages. The AD group had higher rates of postoperative complications, ED visits, and readmissions postoperatively. The AD group also requirement more opioid in the inpatient setting and were more likely to refill prescriptions for opioid medications 3- and 12-months after surgery. In the subanalysis, the average rating of pain intensity was notably higher in the AD group; however, there was no statistically significant difference in rates of narcotic use between low- and high-pain cohorts. This was not the case for the control group. CONCLUSION: AD patients have increased EPP communication, perioperative opioid use, and postoperative complications. Addressing these concerns early and advocating for resources for this population may prevent more serious morbidity, reduce costs, address the opioid crisis, and improve patient care.

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