HSS Journal

, Volume 6, Issue 2, pp 160–163 | Cite as

The Utility of Urine Desmosine as a Marker of Lung Injury in Spine Surgery

  • Stavros G. Memtsoudis
  • Barry Starcher
  • Yan Ma
  • Valeria Buschiazzo
  • Michael K. Urban
  • Federico P. Girardi
Original Article


The objective of this prospective observational study was to determine if urine desmosine levels, a marker of lung injury, increase in response to the periopreative insults of anterior and posterior spine surgery. Desmosine, a stable breakdown product of elastin, has been proposed as a surrogate marker of lung injury in patients with COPD, tobacco use, and ARDS. We recently evaluated this marker in patients undergoing knee surgery, but the utility of desmosine as a marker of lung injury in patients undergoing spine surgery remains unstudied. In this study, we enrolled ten consecutive patients, who underwent anterior/posterior spine surgery. Patient demographics and perioperative data were recorded. Urine samples were collected at baseline, 1 day, and 3 days postoperatively and analyzed for levels of desmosine using a previously validated radioimmunoassay. Desmosine levels were 35.9 ± 18.2 pmol/mg creatinine at baseline, 38.7 ± 11 pmol/mg creatinine on postoperative day 1, and 70.5 ± 49.1 pmol/mg creatinine on postoperative day 3, respectively. Desmosine/creatinine ratios measured on day 3 postoperatively were significantly elevated compared to levels at baseline, and represented a 96.3% increase. No difference was seen between levels at baseline and day 1 postoperatively. In conclusion, we were able to show a significant increase in urine desmosine levels associated with anterior/posterior spine surgery. In the context of previous studies, our findings suggest that desmosine may be a marker of lung injury in this setting. However, further research is warranted for validation and correlation of desmosine levels to clinical markers and various degrees of lung injury.


urine desmosine spine surgery lung injury biomarkers perioperative 


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Copyright information

© Hospital for Special Surgery 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stavros G. Memtsoudis
    • 1
    • 5
  • Barry Starcher
    • 3
  • Yan Ma
    • 4
    • 5
  • Valeria Buschiazzo
    • 1
  • Michael K. Urban
    • 1
    • 5
  • Federico P. Girardi
    • 2
    • 5
  1. 1.Department of AnesthesiologyHospital for Special SurgeryNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.Department of Orthopedic SurgeryHospital for Special SurgeryNew YorkUSA
  3. 3.Department of BiochemistryUniversity of Texas Health CenterTylerUSA
  4. 4.Department of Epidemiology and BiostatisticsHospital for Special SurgeryNew YorkUSA
  5. 5.Weill Cornell College of Cornell UniversityNew YorkUSA

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