Increased resource utilization and overall morbidity are associated with general versus regional anesthesia for carotid endarterectomy in data collected by the Michigan Surgical Quality Collaborative: From the Midwestern Vascular Surgical Society

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Advocates for performing carotid endarterectomy (CEA) under regional anesthesia (RA) cite reduction in hemodynamic instability and the ability for neurologic monitoring, but many still prefer general anesthesia (GA) as benefits of RA have not been clearly demonstrated, reliable RA may not be available in all centers, and a certain amount of movement by the patient during the procedure may not be uniformly tolerated. We evaluated the association of anesthesia type and perioperative morbidity and mortality as well as resource utilization in patients undergoing CEA using the Michigan Surgical Quality Collaborative (MSQC) database.


Between 2012 and 2014, 4558 patients underwent CEA among the MSQC participating hospitals. Of these patients, 4008 underwent CEA under GA and 550 underwent CEA under RA. Data points were collected for each procedure, and a review of 30-day perioperative outcomes was conducted using the χ2 test. Propensity score regression adjusted for case mix preoperative conditions as fixed effects, and a mixed model adjusted for site as a random effect.


The two groups were similar in gender and incidence of hypertension, diabetes, congestive heart failure, and smoking history. The RA group tended to be of better functional status. After GA, there was a greater than twofold higher percentage of any morbidity (8.7% vs 4.2%). Further analysis demonstrated that patients undergoing GA had higher unadjusted rates for mortality (1.0% vs 0.0%), unplanned intubations (2.1% vs 0.6%), pneumonia (1.3% vs 0.0%), sepsis (0.8% vs 0.0%), and readmissions (9.2% vs 6.1%). Adjusting for case mix and random effect, there was statistically significantly higher overall morbidity (P = .0002), unplanned intubation (P = .0196), extended length of stay (P = .0007), emergency department visits (P = .0379), and readmissions (P = .0149) in the GA group. There was no statistically significant difference in incidence of myocardial infarction or cerebrovascular accident.


Based on this analysis from the MSQC database, there is an associated increased morbidity and resource utilization with GA vs RA for CEA. This has implications for enterprise resource planning initiatives and the CEA value proposition in general, which is of special interest to both hospitals and payers.

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