Additionally, a logistic regression model on the full dataset with adjustment for the same variables used for matching procedure was fitted to check for the sensitivity of the results to different methods and to comparatively analyze the impact of individual variables.15 The area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (also referred to as the C statistic or concordance index) was used for assessing the model's discriminatory power. A large number of entries (approximately 40%) in the race category were not available and were imputed as “white.” This step was based on an approach previously described and the fact that facilities with high rates of missing data for race served populations with higher than average Caucasian/African American patient ratios.16,17 The result from this analysis did not change significantly when treating missing entries as a separate group.
We identified 670,516 entries for TKA and 360,119 for THA in the NIS. Because the NIS collects data from a weighted sample of approximately 20% of hospitalizations, these frequencies are a national estimate of 3,261,288 and 1,752,021 performed procedures, respectively, in the US between 1998 and 2006. Of the identified patients, 2184 TKA patients (weighted estimate 6651 or 0.3%) and 1359 THA patients (weighted estimate 10,619 or 0.4%) had the diagnosis of PHTN. This relates to an average of 1180 TKA (range, 507; 2073) and 739 THA (range, 467; 1054) discharges with PHTN annually in the US during the study period. The prevalence of patients with primary PHTN among all patients with PHTN undergoing TKA and THA was 17.8% and 19.9%, respectively. Table 1 details the patient and health care system–related demographics of the data entries with and without PHTN for all TKA and THA discharges for the full sample. Patients with PHTN tended to be older, were more frequently female, and they had a higher comorbidity burden compared with the group without PHTN.
Table 2 details information after the PHTN patients were matched to non-PHTN patients with the same demographics; 94.2% TKA patients (2057 of 2184) and 91.6% THA patients (1245 of 1359) with PHTN were successfully matched. Because of matching, the absolute standardized percentage difference for the covariates decreased from 15.5% (range, 0.1%–55.6%) to 0.8% (range, 0.1%–2.4%) for the THA sample and from 9.0% (range, 0.0%–37.0%) to 0.6% (range, 0.1%–1.6%) for the TKA sample, respectively.
Patients with PHTN had unfavorable outcomes compared with patients without the disease for both TKA and THA procedures. Length of hospital stay (in days) was longer for patients with PHTN after THA (6.5 vs 4.9, P = 0.0001; difference CI of 0.9, 2.1 days) and after TKA by 1.1 days (5.3 vs 4.2, P = 0.0001; difference CI of 0.9, 1.3 days). Mortality rates among patients with PHTN were increased by a factor of 3.72 (95% CI, 2.13–6.39) (incidence of 2.41% [95% CI, 1.54%–3.29%] compared with controls 0.65% [95% CI, 0.39%–0.91%]) for the cohort undergoing THA. Mortality was increased by a factor of 4.55 (95% CI, 2.16–9.39) for those with PHTN compared with those without the disease (incidence of 0.91% [CI, 0.49–1.33] vs 0.2% [CI, 0.09–0.32], respectively) for TKA recipients (Fig. 1). The CMH test– based OR for the outcome of perioperative death in patients with PHTN after THA was 3.79 (95% CI, 2.96–4.86) and 4.55 (95% CI, 3.28–6.33) after TKA compared with matched controls. The ORs from the regression analysis performed to check sensitivity were similar: 3.36 (95% CI, 2.27–4.97) for THA and 5.05 (95% CI, 3.14–8.13) for TKA. A fatal outcome was more frequent in patients with primary compared to patients with nonprimary PHTN for either procedure (5.2% vs 1.8% after THA and 2.3% vs 0.6% after TKA, P < 0.001).
The incidence of ARDS, PE, and DVT was higher in patients with a diagnosis of PHTN undergoing THA and TKA (Fig. 2). The CMH test–based ORs for the matched sample were 4.86 (95% CI, 3.60–6.57), 4.63 (95% CI, 3.32–6.45), and 2.35 (95% CI, 1.78–3.10) for ARDS, PE, and DVT after THA, respectively. Similarly, the CMH test– based ORs were 4.78 (95% CI, 3.77–6.07), 4.56 (95% CI, 3.78–5.51), and 2.35 (95% CI, 1.92–2.88) for ARDS, PE, and DVT for TKA patients, respectively.
Independent risk factors for in-hospital mortality identified in the regression analysis of the full sample included the presence of PHTN, increasing age, male gender, and emergent admission. African American race was a risk factor for perioperative death for patients undergoing THA but not TKA. Hospital location and teaching status did not affect the ORs of in-hospital mortality; however, hospital size influenced the mortality rate (P < 0.0001; Table 3). In addition, the Deyo comorbidity index was associated with increased ORs of in-hospital death (for TKA: OR 1.14 [95% CI, 1.06–1.22]; for THA: OR 1.27 [95% CI, 1.20–1.34]).
In this study, we show that patients with PHTN undergoing primary THA or TKA are at increased risk of perioperative mortality and complications. The highest rate of a fatal outcome was found among patients with a diagnosis of primary PHTN undergoing THA.
There is a paucity of studies that have examined perioperative mortality in patients with PHTN undergoing noncardiac surgery. Ramakrishna et al.1 retrospectively identified 146 patients diagnosed with PHTN who had various noncardiac surgical interventions. The authors reported a mortality rate of 7%, but no comparison was made of whether perioperative mortality differed between patients with primary versus nonprimary PHTN. Predictors of short-term morbidity after noncardiac surgery in their study included New York Heart Association functional class II or higher, history of PE, and anesthesia lasting longer than 3 hours. When risk was stratified by type of surgery, the authors found that 17% of patients undergoing low-risk surgical procedures experienced morbidity compared with 48% of those undergoing orthopedic surgery (i.e., intermediate risk), suggesting that patients with PHTN undergoing orthopedic surgery may be an especially vulnerable group.1 Lai et al.2 reported data from 62 patients with PHTN who had noncardiac surgery and found a perioperative mortality rate of 9.7%.2 The lower rate of fatalities in our analysis compared with previous studies may be explained by the shorter capture timeframe spanning only the immediate perioperative period compared with 30-days postoperatively in other reports.
Our study of 3543 patients with the diagnosis of PHTN undergoing primary THA or TKA was able to overcome some of the limitations of previous studies, and provide population-based data on the incidence of perioperative mortality for these frequently performed procedures. The mechanism leading to the significant increase in morbidity and mortality in patients with PHTN undergoing major arthroplasty is not defined by our study. Although no causal relationships can be established from our analysis, PE of intramedullary contents including fat, bone debris, and cement during arthroplasty procedures is a known phenomenon.5,6,18–22 Cardiovascular derangements manifesting in an increase in pulmonary arterial pressures, right heart strain and cardiovascular collapse, and death (in severe cases) have been described.5,18,19 Mechanisms for the various degrees of presentation of these events remain speculative but are thought to be related to the overall load and size of particles embolized to the pulmonary vasculature.5,6 Furthermore, our findings of increased rates of PE, DVT, and ARDS suggest a common pathologic pathway induced by debris embolization to the lung leading to right heart strain and venostasis. In addition, hypoventilation due to residual anesthesia and analgesia might adversely affect pulmonary hemodynamics in patients with PHTN.
Our study is limited by a number of factors inherent to secondary analysis of large administrative databases. Detailed clinical information (i.e., the severity of pulmonary vascular disease and details about the intraoperative course) in the NIS is unavailable. Only inpatient data are available from the NIS database; thus, complications and events after discharge are not captured. Furthermore, readmissions cannot be discerned from this database. Therefore, conclusions should be limited to the acute perioperative setting with the notion that mortality and complications are likely underestimated. In this respect, further study of the National Death Index may yield further information, but this was beyond the scope of this study. Coding or reporting bias with data entry cannot be excluded. This form of bias, however, is likely to affect both PHTN and non-PHTN discharges equally. It is not likely that the outcome of mortality should be subject to this bias. The NIS does not provide information about the severity of PHTN. It is feasible that more severe cases of PHTN are associated with increased risk of adverse outcomes. Ramakrishna et al.1 support this assumption with the finding that a right ventricular systolic pressure to systemic systolic blood pressure ratio ≥0.66 was a predictor for postoperative mortality. We found that patients with primary PHTN had higher mortality compared with other types of PHTN, further supporting that more severe forms of PHTN are associated with high risk for worse outcome.23,24
Surgery and perioperative complications are a substantial challenge for the treatment of patients with PHTN because modifications in specific drug treatment (e.g., converting oral or inhaled therapies to IV drugs) may be necessary.
In summary, this study showed that patients with PHTN are at increased risk for perioperative morbidity and mortality after THA and TKA. Careful consideration of the benefits of performing these procedures in individuals with PHTN seems prudent and may include a discussion about alternative, perhaps less-invasive treatments to address the orthopedic disease process and its consequences.
From the *Department of Anesthesiology, Hospital for Special Surgery; †Division of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, Public Health, Hospital for Special Surgery, Weill Medical College of Cornell University, New York, New York; ‡Department of Anesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, Massachusetts; and §Department for Lung Development and Remodelling, Max-Planck-Institute for Heart and Lung Research, Bad Nauheim, Germany.
Supported by the Hospital for Special Surgery Anesthesiology Young Investigator Award provided by the Department of Anesthesiology at the Hospital for Special Surgery (SM), the Center for Education and Research in Therapeutics (AHRQ RFA-HS-05-14) (YC and MM), and the Clinical Translational Science Center (NIH UL1-RR024996) (YM and MM).
SGM helped design and conduct the study, analyze the data, write the manuscript, and secure funding. This author has seen the original study data, reviewed the analysis of the data, approved the final manuscript, and is responsible for archiving the study files. YM helped design and conduct the study and analyze the data. This author has seen the original study data, reviewed the analysis of the data, and approved the final manuscript. YLC helped analyze the data and write the manuscript. This author has seen the original study data, reviewed the analysis of the data, and approved the final manuscript. JMW helped design the study and write the manuscript. This author has seen the original study data, reviewed the analysis of the data, and approved the final manuscript. RV helped design the study and write the manuscript. This author has seen the original study data, reviewed the analysis of the data, and approved the final manuscript. MM helped design the study, analyze the data, write the manuscript, and secure funding. This author has seen the original study data, approved the final manuscript, and is responsible for archiving the study files.
a HCUP Databases. Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP). Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD, 2008. Available at: http://www.hcup-us.ahrq.gov/nisoverview.jsp. Accessed February 15, 2010.
b Introduction to the HCUP National Inpatient Sample (NIS) 2006. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP), Rockville, MD, 2008. Available at: http://www.hcup-us.ahrq.gov/db/nation/nis/2006NIS_INTRODUCTION.pdf. Accessed February 15, 2010.
c The SURVEYMEANS Procedure. SAS Online Doc. SAS Institute Inc., Cary, NC, 1999. Available at: http://www.okstate.edu/sas/v8/saspdf/stat/chap61.pdf. Accessed June 15, 2010.
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© 2010 International Anesthesia Research Society
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