HealthDay News — Patients with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection undergoing spinal fusions have higher rates of complications resulting from those procedures, according to research published in Spine.

To examine the trends and in-hospital outcomes of HIV-positive patients who underwent spinal fusions, Hiroyuki Yoshihara, MD, PhD, of the Nagoya City University in Japan, and colleagues conducted a retrospective analysis of population-based national hospital discharge data. Comparisons between HIV-positive and HIV-negative patients were made for in-hospital outcomes.

The analysis revealed 5,070 patients with HIV underwent spinal fusion in the United States during the last decade. Over the course of the study period, the population-based incidence of HIV-positive patients who underwent spinal fusion increased more than three-fold (P<0.001).

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Type of complication Rate of complication in HIV+ patients Rate of complication in HIV-negative patients
Respiratory complications 6.2% 3.2%
Wound-related complications 2.7% 1.7%
Overall in-hospital complications 12.2% 9.5%
In-hospital mortality 1.6% 0.3%

HIV-positive patients had longer hospital stays (6.6 days versus 4.2 days). Compared with HIV-negative patients, study participants with HIV infection had significantly higher rates of complications.

“In this study, HIV infection was an independent risk factor for in-hospital mortality in patients undergoing spinal fusion,” concluded the researchers.


  1. Yoshihara H et al. Spine. 2014; doi: 10.1097/BRS.0000000000000471