Gender Disparities in Surgical Treatment of Axis Fractures in Older Adults

Global Spine J. 2019 Nov 25:2192568219890573. doi: 10.1177/2192568219890573. Online ahead of print.


STUDY DESIGN: Retrospective cohort study.

OBJECTIVES: Gender appears to play in important role in surgical outcomes following acute cervical spine trauma, with current literature suggesting males have a significantly higher mortality following spine surgery. However, no well-adjusted population-based studies of gender disparities in incidence and outcomes of spine surgery following acute traumatic axis injuries exist to our knowledge. We hypothesized that females would receive surgery less often than males, but males would have a higher 1-year mortality following isolated traumatic axis fractures.

METHODS: We performed a retrospective cohort study using Medicare claims data that identified US citizens aged 65 and older with ICD-9 (International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision) code diagnosis corresponding to isolated acute traumatic axis fracture between 2007 and 2014. Our primary outcome was defined as cumulative incidence of surgical treatment, and our secondary outcome was 1-year mortality. Propensity weighted analysis was performed to balance covariates between genders. Our institutional review board approved the study (IRB #16-0533).

RESULTS: There was no difference in incidence of surgery between males and females following acute isolated traumatic axis fractures (7.4 and 7.5 per 100 fractures, respectively). Males had significantly higher 1-year weighted mortality overall (41.7 and 28.9 per 100 fractures, respectively, P < .001).

CONCLUSION: Our well-adjusted data suggest there was no significant gender disparity in incidence of surgical treatment over the study period. The data also support previous observations that males have worse outcomes in comparison to females in the setting of axis fractures and spinal trauma regardless of surgical intervention.

PMID:32875842 | DOI:10.1177/2192568219890573