Effects of hospital safety-net burden and hospital volume on failure to rescue after open abdominal aortic surgery

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Abstract

Objective:

Failure to rescue (FTR) is defined as the inability to rescue a patient from major perioperative complications, resulting in operative mortality. FTR is a known contributor to operative mortality after open abdominal aortic surgery. Understanding the causes of FTR is essential to designing interventions to improve perioperative outcomes. The objective of this study was to determine the relative contributions of hospital volume and safety-net burden (the proportion of uninsured and Medicaid-insured patients) to FTR.

Methods:

The Nationwide Inpatient Sample (2001-2011) was analyzed to investigate variables associated with FTR after elective open abdominal aortic operations in the United States. FTR was defined as in-hospital death following postoperative complications. Mixed multivariate regression models were used to assess independent predictors of FTR, taking into account the clustered structure of the data (patients nested into hospitals).

Results:

A total of 47,233 elective open abdominal aortic operations were performed in 1777 hospitals during the study period. The overall incidences of postoperative complications, in-hospital mortality, and FTR in the whole cohort were 32.7%, 3.2%, and 8.6%, respectively. After adjusting for demographics, comorbidities, and hospital characteristics, safety-net burden was significantly associated with increased likelihood of FTR (highest vs lowest quartile of safety-net burden, odds ratio, 1.59; 95% confidence interval, 1.32-1.91; P < .0001). In contrast, after adjusting for safety-net burden, procedure-specific hospital volume was not significantly associated with FTR (P = .897).

Conclusions:

After adjusting for patient- and hospital-level variables, including hospital volume, safety-net burden was an independent predictor of FTR after open aortic surgery. Future investigations should be aimed at better understanding the relationship between safety-net hospital burden and FTR to design interventions to improve outcomes after open abdominal aortic surgery.

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