In prior analyses, myocardial injury after noncardiac surgery, major bleeding, and sepsis were independently associated with most deaths in the 30 days after noncardiac surgery, but most of these deaths occurred during the index hospitalization for surgery. We set out to describe outcomes after discharge from hospital up to one year after inpatient noncardiac surgery and associations between pre-discharge complications and post-discharge death up to one year after surgery.
Analysis of patients discharged after inpatient noncardiac surgery in a large international prospective cohort study across 28 centers from 2007–2013 of patients aged ≥45 years followed to one year after surgery. We estimated 1) the cumulative post-discharge incidence of death and other outcomes up to a year after surgery and 2) the adjusted time-varying associations between post-discharge death and pre-discharge complications including myocardial injury after noncardiac surgery, major bleeding, sepsis, infection without sepsis, stroke, congestive heart failure, clinically important atrial fibrillation or flutter, amputation, venous thromboembolism, and acute kidney injury managed with dialysis.
Among 38,898 patients discharged after surgery, the cumulative one-year incidence was 5.8% (95% CI, 5.5-6.0%) for all-cause death and 24.7% (24.2-25.1%) for all-cause hospital readmission. Pre-discharge complications were associated with 33.7% (27.2-40.2%) of deaths up to 30 days after discharge and 15.0% (12.0-17.9%) up to one year. Most of the association with death was due to myocardial injury after noncardiac surgery (15.6% [9.3-21.9%) of deaths within 30 days, 6.4% [4.1-8.7%] within one year), major bleeding (15.0% [8.3-21.7%] within 30 days, 4.7% [2.2-7.2%] within one year), and sepsis (5.4% [2.2-8.6%] within 30 days, 2.1% [1.0-3.1%] within one year).
One in 18 patients ≥45 years old discharged after inpatient noncardiac surgery died within one year and one quarter were readmitted to hospital. The risk of death associated with pre-discharge perioperative complications persists for weeks to months after discharge.