Predicting major adverse cardiac events in spine fusion patients: Is the revised cardiac risk index sufficient?

Louanne M. Carabini, Carine Zeeni, Natalie C. Moreland, Robert W. Gould, Laura B. Hemmer, John F. Bebawy, Tyler R. Koski, Jamal McClendon, Antoun Koht, Dhanesh K. Gupta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


STUDY DESIGN.: Observational cohort study. OBJECTIVE.: To determine the accuracy of the Revised Cardiac Risk Index (RCRI) in predicting major adverse cardiac events in patients undergoing spine fusion surgery of 3 levels or more. SUMMARY OF BACKGROUND DATA.: Preoperative cardiac testing is extensively guided by the RCRI, which was developed and validated in thoracic, abdominal, and orthopedic surgical patients. Because multilevel spine fusion surgery is often associated with major transfusion, we hypothesize that the RCRI may not accurately characterize the risk of cardiovascular morbidity in these patients. METHODS.: After institutional review board approval, perioperative data were collected from 547 patients who underwent 3 or more levels of spinal fusion with instrumentation. Postoperative cardiac morbidity was defined as any combination of the following: arrhythmia requiring medical treatment, myocardial infarction (either by electrocardiographic changes or troponin elevation), or the occurrence of demand ischemia. The surgical complexity was categorized as anterior surgery only, posterior cervical and/or thoracic fusion, posterior lumbar fusion, or any surgery that included transpedicular osteotomies. Logistic regression analysis was performed to determine RCRI performance. RESULTS.: The RCRI performed no better than chance (area under the curve = 0.54) in identifying the 49 patients (9%) who experienced cardiac morbidity. CONCLUSION.: The RCRI did not predict cardiac morbidity in our patients undergoing major spine fusion surgery, despite being extensively validated in low-risk noncardiac surgical patients. Preoperative testing and optimization decisions, previously based on the RCRI, may need to be revised to include more frequent functional cardiac imaging and more aggressive implementation of pharmacologic modalities that may mitigate cardiac morbidity, similar to the preoperative evaluation for major vascular surgery.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1441-1448
Number of pages8
Issue number17
StatePublished - Aug 1 2014


  • acute myocardial infarction
  • acute myocardial ischemia
  • cardiac events
  • perioperative cardiac morbidity
  • perioperative mortality
  • preoperative assessment
  • preoperative cardiac risk assessment
  • preoperative cardiac testing
  • preoperative risk
  • spine fusion
  • spine surgery


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