Cannabis abuse linked with increased morbidity among spine surgery patients
Cannabis abuse among spine surgery patients was associated with complications, such as thromboembolism and sepsis, and may increase length of stay, hospital charges and unfavorable discharges, according to published results.
Researchers from the University of Illinois at Chicago used the National Inpatient Sample to identify 423,978 patients who underwent elective spine surgery (spinal fusion, decompression or laminectomy) from 2012 to 2015. Of the cohort, 2,393 patients had cannabis use disorder.
After controlling for demographic characteristics and comorbid tobacco use, researchers found patients with cannabis use disorder exhibited higher rates of perioperative thromboembolism, respiratory complications, stroke and anoxic brain injury, septicemia or sepsis, and non-routine discharge, according to the study. Patients with cannabis use disorder also had a mean length of stay of 7.1 days and $137,631.30 in hospitalization charges compared with 5.2 days and $116,112.60 in hospitalization charges among the remainder of the study sample.
“Due to its complicated legal status, the effects of cannabis on elective spine surgery patients have not been well studied,” the researchers wrote in the study. “Cannabis abuse appears to be associated with increased perioperative morbidity among spine surgery patients. Physicians should ensure that a thorough preoperative drug use history is taken, and that affected patients be adequately informed of associated risks,” they added.