Infectious complications after elective vascular surgical procedures

Todd R Vogel, Viktor Y Dombrovskiy, Jeffrey L Carson, Paul B Haser, Stephen F Lowry, Alan M Graham
Journal of Vascular Surgery 2010, 51 (1): 122-9; discussion 129-30

OBJECTIVE: This study was conducted to evaluate and compare the rates of postoperative infectious complications and death after elective vascular surgery, define vascular procedures with the greatest risk of developing nosocomial infections, and assess the effect of infection on health care resource utilization.

METHODS: The Nationwide Inpatient Sample (2002-2006) was used to identify major vascular procedures by International Classification of Diseases, 9th Clinical Modification (ICD-9-CM) codes. Infectious complications identified included pneumonia, urinary tract infections (UTI), postoperative sepsis, and surgical site infections (SSI). Case-mix-adjusted rates were calculated using a multivariate logistic regression model for infectious complication or death as an outcome and indirect standardization.

RESULTS: A total of 870,778 elective vascular surgical procedures were estimated and evaluated with an overall postoperative infection rate of 3.70%. Open abdominal aortic surgery had the greatest rate of postoperative infections, followed by open thoracic procedures and aorta-iliac-femoral bypass. Thoracic endovascular aneurysm repair (TEVAR) infectious complication rates were two times greater than after EVAR (P < .0001). Pneumonia was the most common infectious complication after open aortic surgery (6.63%). UTI was the most common after TEVAR (2.86%) and EVAR (1.31%). Infectious complications were greater in octogenarians (P < .0002), women (P < .0001), and blacks (P < .0001 vs whites and Hispanics). Nosocomial infections after elective vascular surgery significantly increased hospital length of stay (13.8 +/- 15.4 vs 3.5 +/- 4.2 days; P < .001) and reported total hospital cost ($37,834 +/- $42,905 vs $11,851 +/- $11,816; P < .001).

CONCLUSIONS: Elective vascular surgical procedures vary widely in the estimated risk of postoperative infection. Open aortic surgery and endarterectomy of the head and neck vessels have, respectively, the greatest and the lowest reported incidence for postoperative infectious complications. Women, octogenarians, and blacks have the highest risk of infectious complications after elective vascular surgery. Disparities in the development of infectious complications on a systems level were also found in larger hospitals and teaching hospitals. Hospital infectious complications were found to significantly increase health care resource utilization. Strategies that reduce nosocomial complications and target high-risk procedures may offer significant future cost savings.

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