Factors that determine the length of stay after carotid endarterectomy represent opportunities to avoid financial losses.

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Journal of vascular surgery

MeSH Headings

Aged, Carotid Artery Diseases, Diagnosis-Related Groups, Economics, Hospital, Elective Surgical Procedures, Endarterectomy, Carotid, Female, Follow-Up Studies, Hospital Costs, Hospitals, Humans, Length of Stay, Male, New England, Postoperative Complications, Postoperative Period, Retrospective Studies


BACKGROUND: A postoperative length of stay (LOS) >1 day after elective surgery incurs financial losses for hospitals, given fixed diagnosis-related group-based reimbursement. We sought to identify factors leading to a prolonged LOS (>1 postoperative day) after carotid endarterectomy (CEA).

METHODS: Patients undergoing CEA in 23 centers of the Vascular Study Group of New England between 2003 and 2011 (n = 8860) were analyzed. Only elective, primary CEAs were analyzed, leaving a study cohort of 7108 procedures. Hierarchical multivariable logistic regression analysis was performed to identify predictors of a postoperative LOS >1 day. A Knaus-Wagner chi-pie analysis was performed to determine the relative contributions of each significant covariate to a postoperative LOS >1 day.

RESULTS: A postoperative LOS >1 day occurred in 17.5% of the sample (n = 1244). The average LOS was 1.4 days (range, 1-91 days; median, 1). There was significant variation in rates of postoperative LOS >1 day across centers (range, 5%-100%; P < .001). Factors independently associated with a postoperative LOS >1 day and their percentage contribution to the prediction model included the need for postoperative intravenous medications for hypertension or hypotension (26%), any major adverse event (MAE) postoperatively (21%), low-volume (year) surgeons (28%), increasing age (7%), female gender (4%), positive result on a preoperative stress test (3%), preoperative major stroke ≤30 days (2%), medication-dependent diabetes (1%), severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (1%), history of congestive heart failure (1%), and CEA performed on Friday (2%).

CONCLUSIONS: Certain patient characteristics predispose to a postoperative LOS >1 day after elective CEA. However, patient characteristics play only a modest (17%) role in determining LOS. The need for postoperative blood pressure control and MAEs are the biggest drivers of postoperative LOS >1 day, but system factors, such as low operative volume, contribute substantially to postoperative LOS >1 day, independent of MAEs. These findings can be used to guide quality improvement efforts designed to reduce LOS after elective CEA.



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