Postoperative complications in pediatric patients with cerebral palsy

J Pediatr Surg. 2021 Jun 7;S0022-3468(21)00431-0. doi: 10.1016/j.jpedsurg.2021.05.021. Online ahead of print.


Background/purpose: To assess surgical outcomes of patients with cerebral palsy (CP) and if they differ from patients without CP.

Methods: The NSQIP-Pediatric database from 2012 to 2019 was used to compare differences in presenting characteristics and outcomes between patients with and without CP. Chi-square tests and multivariable logistic regression analysis were used to determine significance.

Results: 119,712 patients, 433 (0.4%) with CP, 119,279 (99.6%) without, were identified. Patients with CP had more postoperative complications (19.4% vs. 6.9%, p < 0.001) with an OR of 3.2, (95%CI 2.5-4.1, p < 0.001) on univariable analysis. They underwent fewer laparoscopic procedures (79.1% vs. 90.8%, p < 0.001), had more readmissions (10.2% vs. 3.8%, p < 0.001), reoperations (5.1% vs. 1.2%, p < 0.001), and longer length of stays (LOS) (median 3 versus 1 day, p < 0.001). On multivariable analysis, having CP did not increase the odds of postoperative morbidity (OR 0.99, 95% CI 0.7-1.3), but higher ASA class, congenital lung malformation, gastrointestinal disease, coagulopathy, preoperative inotropic support, oxygen use, nutritional support, and steroid use significantly increase the odds of morbidity, all of which were more common in patients with CP.

Conclusion: Patients with CP have more postoperative complications, open procedures, and longer LOS. Patient complexity may account for these differences and risk-directed perioperative planning may improve outcomes.

Level of evidence: Level IV.

Keywords: ACS NSQIP; Cerebral palsy; Complications; Health disparities; Pediatric surgery.