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A study published in the December issue of the journal Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research suggests that the manner in which missing data are handled may influence the results of spine studies based on database information. 

The researchers reviewed data on 88,471 spine surgery patients from the American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (ACS-NSQIP) database. They found that 4,441 records (5 percent) had missing elements among demographic data, 69,184 (72 percent) among comorbidities, 70,892 (80 percent) among preoperative laboratory values, and 56,551 (64 percent) among operating room times. Based on three different treatments of missing data, the researchers found different risk factors for adverse events. Of 44 risk factors found to be associated with adverse events in any analysis, only 15 (34 percent) were common among the three regressions. Learn more...