Objective: The objective of this study was to assess the impact of preoperative anemia (hematocrit <39%) on postoperative 30-day mortality and adverse cardiac events in patients 65 years or older undergoing elective vascular procedures.
Background: Preoperative anemia is associated with adverse outcomes after cardiac surgery, but its association with postoperative outcomes after open and endovascular procedures is not well established. Elderly patients have a decreased tolerance to anemia and are at high risk for complications after vascular procedures.
Methods: Patients (N = 31,857) were identified from the American College of Surgeons' 2007–2009 National Surgical Quality Improvement Program—a prospective, multicenter (>250) database maintained across the United States. The primary and secondary outcomes of interest were 30-day mortality and a composite end point of death or cardiac event (cardiac arrest or myocardial infarction), respectively.
Results: Forty-seven percent of the study population was anemic. Anemic patients had a postoperative mortality and cardiac event rate of 2.4% and 2.3% in contrast to the 1.2% and 1.2%, respectively, in patients with hematocrit within the normal range (P < 0.0001). On multivariate analysis, we found a 4.2% (95% confidence interval, 1.9–6.5) increase in the adjusted risk of 30-day postoperative mortality for every percentage point of hematocrit decrease from the normal range.
Conclusions: The presence and degree of preoperative anemia are independently associated with 30-day death and adverse cardiac events in patients 65 years or older undergoing elective open and endovascular procedures. Identification and treatment of anemia should be important components of preoperative care for patients undergoing vascular operations.