Anesthesia Technique and Mortality after Joint Replacement

Perlas, A; Chan, V. W.S; & Beattie, S.  Anesthesia Technique and Mortality after Total Hip or Knee Arthroplasty: A Retrospective, Propensity Score–matched Cohort Study. Anesthesiology  October 2016, Vol.125, 724-731

Abstract
Background: This propensity score–matched cohort study evaluates the effect of anesthetic technique on a 30-day mortality after total hip or knee arthroplasty.

Methods: All patients who had hip or knee arthroplasty between January 1, 2003, and December 31, 2014, were evaluated. The principal exposure was spinal versus general anesthesia. The primary outcome was 30-day mortality. Secondary outcomes were (1) perioperative myocardial infarction; (2) a composite of major adverse cardiac events that includes cardiac arrest, myocardial infarction, or newly diagnosed arrhythmia; (3) pulmonary embolism; (4) major blood loss; (5) hospital length of stay; and (6) operating room procedure time. A propensity score–matched-pair analysis was performed using a nonparsimonious logistic regression model of regional anesthetic use.

Results: We identified 10,868 patients, of whom 8,553 had spinal anesthesia and 2,315 had general anesthesia. Ninety-two percent (n = 2,135) of the patients who had general anesthesia were matched to similar patients who did not have general anesthesia. In the matched cohort, the 30-day mortality rate was 0.19% (n = 4) in the spinal anesthesia group and 0.8% (n = 17) in the general anesthesia group (risk ratio, 0.42; 95% CI, 0.21 to 0.83; P = 0.0045). Spinal anesthesia was also associated with a shorter hospital length of stay (5.7 vs. 6.6 days; P < 0.001).

Conclusions: The results of this observational, propensity score–matched cohort study suggest a strong association between spinal anesthesia and lower 30-day mortality, as well as a shorter hospital length of stay, after elective joint replacement surgery.

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