Klippel-Feil: A constellation of diagnoses, a contemporary presentation, and recent national trends

Peter L. Zhou, Gregory W. Poorman, Charles Wang, Katherine E. Pierce, Cole A. Bortz, Haddy Alas, Avery E. Brown, Jared C. Tishelman, Muhammad Burhan Janjua, Dennis Vasquez-Montes, John Moon, Samantha R. Horn, Frank Segreto, Yael U. Ihejirika, Bassel G. Diebo, Peter Gust Passias

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Background: Klippel-Feil syndrome (KFS) includes craniocervical anomalies, low posterior hairline, and brevicollis, with limited cervical range of motion; however, there remains no consensus on inheritance pattern. This study defines incidence, characterizes concurrent diagnoses, and examines trends in the presentation and management of KFS. Methods: This was a retrospective review of the Kid's Inpatient Database (KID) for KFSpatients aged 0-20 years from 2003 to 2012. Incidence was established using KID-supplied year and hospital-trend weights. Demographics and secondary diagnoses associated with KFS were evaluated. Comorbidities, anomalies, and procedure type trends from 2003 to 2012 were assessed for likelihood to increase among the years studied using ANOVA tests. Results: Eight hundred and fifty-eight KFS diagnoses (age: 9.49 years; 51.1% females) and 475 patients with congenital fusion (CF) (age: 8.33 years; 50.3% females) were analyzed. We identified an incidence rate of 1/21,587 discharges. Only 6.36% of KFS patients were diagnosed with Sprengel's deformity; 1.44% with congenital fusion. About 19.1% of KFS patients presented with another spinal abnormality and 34.0% presented with another neuromuscular anomaly. About 36.51% of KFS patients were diagnosed with a nonspinal or nonmusculoskeletal anomaly, with the most prevalent anomalies being of cardiac origin (12.95%). About 7.34% of KFS patients underwent anterior fusions, whereas 6.64% of KFS patients underwent posterior fusions. The average number of levels operated on was 4.99 with 8.28% receiving decompressions. Interbody devices were used in 2.45% of cases. The rate of fusions with <3 levels (7.46%) was comparable to that of 3 levels or greater (7.81%). Conclusions: KFS patients were more likely to have other spinal abnormalities (19.1%) and nonnervous system abnormalities (13.63%). Compared to congenital fusions, KFS patients were more likely to have congenital abnormalities such as Sprengel's deformity. KFS patients are increasingly being treated with spinal fusion. Level of Evidence: III.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)133-138
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Craniovertebral Junction and Spine
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 1 2019


  • Congenital anomaly
  • Kid's Inpatient Database
  • Klippel-Feil
  • congenital scoliosis


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