Patient Care

Pre-Operative Use of Angiotension Converting Enzyme Inhibitors, Angiotension Receptor Blockers Examined in Elective Joint Replacement Surgery


Clinical question: Should angiotension-converting enzyme inhibitors or angiotension receptor blockers (ACEI/ARB) be held the morning of elective joint replacement?

Background: In patients taking ACEI/ARB, the decision regarding whether or not to give these medications on the day of surgery is controversial. UptoDate recommends holding ACEI/ARB the day of surgery; American College of Physicians Guidelines and SHM Consult Medicine recommend giving these drugs on the day of surgery.

Study design: Retrospective cohort (case control) study.

Setting: A large academic hospital in Pennsylvania.

Synopsis: Researchers studied adults undergoing elective spinal fusion, total knee replacement, or total hip replacement, and compared outcomes in 323 patients who were taking an ACEI/ARB (study group) to outcomes in the 579 patients who were not taking an ACEI/ARB (control group) before surgery. It was assumed—but not studied—that the ACEI/ARB was continued the morning of surgery in all patients in the study group, because that was the standard practice at this hospital.

Compared to the control group, the study group had more post-induction hypotension (12.2% vs. 6.7%) and more post-operative acute kidney injury (5.76% vs. 3.28%). Patients who developed acute kidney injury had longer length of stay (5.76 vs. 3.28 days) but no difference in two-year mortality.

Patients in the study group had higher baseline creatinine, were older, were more likely to be taking a diuretic, and were more likely to have diabetes, heart failure, and coronary artery disease. The authors used multiple logistic regression to adjust for these differences. Anesthesia and intra-operative fluid management were not standardized or compared.

Bottom line: ACEI/ARB administration on the morning of elective major orthopedic surgery is likely associated with a higher risk of intra-operative hypotension and acute kidney injury.

Citation: Nielson E, Hennrikus E, Lehman E, Mets B. Angiotensin axis blockade, hypotension, and acute kidney injury in elective major orthopedic surgery. J Hosp Med. 2014;9(5):283-288.

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