Decubitus ulcers in patients undergoing vascular operations do not influence mortality but affect resource utilization

J. Hunter Mehaffey, Amani D. Politano, Castigliano M. Bhamidipati, Margaret C. Tracci, Kenneth J. Cherry, John A. Kern, Irving L. Kron, Gilbert R. Upchurch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Background While it is anticipated that decubitus ulcers are detrimental to outcomes after vascular operations, the contemporary influence of perioperative decubitus ulcers in vascular surgery remains unknown. Methods Using the National Impatient Survey, all adult patients who underwent vascular operation were selected. Patients were stratified by the presence or absence (non–decubitus ulcers) of decubitus ulcer. Case-mix adjusted hierarchical mixed-models examined in-hospital mortality, the occurrence of any complication, and discharge disposition. Results A total of 538,808 cases were analyzed. Decubitus ulcers were most prevalent among Caucasian male Medicare beneficiaries (P < .001). Decubitus ulcer patients also underwent more nonelective vascular operations (P < .001). Wound, infectious, and procedural complications were more common in patients with decubitus ulcers (P < .001). Failure to rescue, defined as mortality after any complication, was more than doubled in decubitus ulcers (non–decubitus ulcers: 1.5%, decubitus ulcers: 3.2%, P < .001). Similarly, unadjusted mortality was also doubled in patients undergoing vascular operation with decubitus ulcers (non–decubitus ulcers: 3%, decubitus ulcers: 6%, P < .001). After risk adjustment among all patients, neither the presence of a decubitus ulcer nor specific ulcer staging increased the adjusted odds of death. Having a decubitus ulcer increased the adjusted odds of discharge to an intermediate care facility (odds ratio 2.9, P < .001). These patients also had 1.6 times the total charges compared to their non–decubitus ulcer cohort (non–decubitus ulcers: $49,460 ± $281 vs decubitus ulcers: $81,149 ± $5,855, P < .001). Conclusion Contrary to common perception, perioperative decubitus ulcer does not adversely affect mortality after vascular operation in patients proceeding to operative intervention. Patients with decubitus ulcers are, however, at higher risk for complications and incur sizeable additional charges.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1720-1727
Number of pages8
JournalSurgery (United States)
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2017
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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