Complications and death within 30 days after noncardiac surgery


Background: There have been advances in perioperative care and technology for adults, but at the same time the patient population is increasingly medically complex. We do not know the current mortality risk of noncardiac surgery in adults.

Dr. Kathryn Brouillette, Maine Medical Partners Hospital Medicine, Maine Medical Center, Portland

Dr. Kathryn Brouillette

Study design: Prospective cohort study.

Setting: Twenty-eight academic centers in 14 countries in North America, South America, Asia, Europe, Africa, and Australia. At least four academic centers represented each of these continents, except Africa, with one center reporting there.

Synopsis: The VISION study included 40,004 inpatients, aged 45 years and older, followed for 30-day mortality after noncardiac surgery. One-third of surgeries were considered low risk. A startling 99.1% of patients completed the study. Mortality rate was 1.8%, with 71% of patients dying during the index admission and 29% dying after discharge.

Nine events were independently associated with postoperative death, but the top three – major bleeding, myocardial injury after noncardiac surgery (MINS), and sepsis – accounted for 45% of the attributable fraction. These, on average, occurred within 1-6 days after surgery. The other events (infection, kidney injury with dialysis, stroke, venous thromboembolism, new atrial fibrillation, and congestive heart failure) constituted less than 3% of the attributable fraction. Findings suggest that closer monitoring in the hospital and post discharge might improve survival after noncardiac surgery.

Limitations for hospitalists include that patients were younger and less medically complex than our typically comanaged patients: More than half of patients were aged 45-64, less than 10% had chronic kidney disease stage 3b or greater, and only 20% had diabetes mellitus.

Bottom line: Postoperative and postdischarge bleeding, myocardial injury after noncardiac surgery, and sepsis are major risk factors for 30-day mortality in adults undergoing noncardiac surgery. Closer postoperative monitoring for these conditions should be explored.

Citation: The Vision Study Investigators (Spence J et al.) Association between complications and death within 30 days after noncardiac surgery. CMAJ. 2019 Jul 29;191(30):E830-7.

Dr. Brouillette is a med-peds hospitalist at Maine Medical Center in Portland.

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