High preoperative hemoglobin A1c is a risk factor for surgical site infection after posterior thoracic and lumbar spinal instrumentation surgery

Tomohiro Hikata, Akio Iwanami, Naobumi Hosogane, Koota Watanabe, Ken Ishii, Masaya Nakamura, Michihiro Kamata, Yoshiaki Toyama, Morio Matsumoto

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Background: Diabetes mellitus (DM) is reported to be a risk factor for surgical site infection (SSI), which is a serious complication after spinal surgery. The effect of DM on SSI after instrumented spinal surgery remains to be clarified. The aim was to elucidate perioperative risk factors for infection at the surgical site after posterior thoracic and lumbar spinal arthrodesis with instrumentation in patients with DM. Methods: Consecutive patients who underwent posterior instrumented thoracic and lumbar spinal arthrodesis during the years 2005-2011, who could be followed for at least 1 year after surgery, were included. These included 36 patients with DM (19 males and 17 females; mean age 64.3 years). The patients' medical records were retrospectively reviewed to determine the SSI rate. The characteristics of the DM patients were examined in detail, including the levels of serum glucose and HbA1c, which indicate the level of diabetes control. Results: Patients with DM had a higher rate of SSI (6 of 36 patients, 16.7 %) than patients without DM (10 of 309 patients, 3.2 %). Although the perioperative serum glucose level did not differ between DM patients that did or did not develop SSI, the preoperative HbA1c value was significantly higher in the patients who developed SSI (7.6 %) than in those who did not (6.9 %). SSI developed in 0.0 % of the patients with controlled diabetes (HbA1c <7.0 %) and in 35.3 % of the patients with uncontrolled diabetes (HbA1c ≥7.0 %). Conclusions: DM patients whose blood glucose levels were poorly controlled before surgery were at high risk for SSI. To prevent SSI in DM patients, we recommend lowering the HbA1c to <7.0 % before performing surgery.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)223-228
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Orthopaedic Science
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2014


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Medicine(all)

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