Rates and Characteristics of Patients Leaving against Medical Advice after Spine Surgery

Abdullah Ghali, David Momtaz, Travis Kotzur, Rishi Gonuguntla, Rebecca Wang, Alan C. Santiago-Rodriquez, Eileen N. Phan, Ali Seifi, Darrell Hanson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Introduction: Leaving against medical advice (AMA) has been associated with higher rates of readmission and worse postoperative outcomes in various surgical fields. Patients who have undergone spine surgery often require careful postoperative follow-up to ensure an uncomplicated recovery. In this study, we aim to investigate the demographic and hospital variables that may have contributed to patients leaving the hospital AMA following spine surgery. Methods: We performed a retrospective analysis of patients receiving spine surgery; we used the data from the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP) database for the years 2011-2020. Demographics, household income status, insurance status, time from admission to operation, length of stay, length of recovery, and discharge disposition were collected and analyzed. Multivariate linear regression was used to determine the odds ratios of each factor and their association to patient decision of leaving AMA. Results: As per our findings, patients aged 30-49 had 1.666 times greater odds of leaving AMA following spine surgery (P<0.001), patients aged 50-64 had 1.222 times greater odds of leaving AMA (P=0.001), and patients older than 65 had 0.490 times lesser odds of leaving AMA (P<0.001). Additionally, black patients were 1.612 times more likely to leave AMA (P<0.001), whereas white patients were 0.675 times less likely to do so (<0.001). Women were 0.555 times less likely to leave AMA than the rest of the population (P<0.001). Moreover, patients with private insurance were 0.268 times less likely to leave AMA (P<0.001), while patients on Medicare and Medicaid were 1.692 times (P<0.001) and 3.958 times more likely to leave AMA (P<0.001) following spine surgery, respectively. Finally, patients in the lowest quartile of income were 1.691 times more likely to leave AMA (P<0.001), while patients in the higher quartile of income were 0.521 times less likely to do so (P<0.001). Conclusions: It is critical that spine surgeons are aware of the factors that predispose patients to leave AMA in order to mitigate postoperative complications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)43-50
Number of pages8
JournalSpine Surgery and Related Research
Volume8
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 2024

Keywords

  • Against Medical Advice
  • Orthopedics
  • Spine Surgery
  • Surgery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine

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