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Comparative Study
, 212 (2), 187-94

Does Preoperative Anemia Adversely Affect Colon and Rectal Surgery Outcomes?

Comparative Study

Does Preoperative Anemia Adversely Affect Colon and Rectal Surgery Outcomes?

Stefan W Leichtle et al. J Am Coll Surg.


Background: Complications associated with blood transfusions have resulted in widespread acceptance of low hematocrit levels in surgical patients. However, preoperative anemia seems to be a risk factor for adverse postoperative outcomes in certain surgical patients. This study investigated the National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (NSQIP) database to determine if preoperative anemia in patients undergoing open and laparoscopic colectomies is an independent predictor for an adverse composite outcome (CO) consisting of myocardial infarction, stroke, progressive renal insufficiency or death within 30 days of operation, or for an increased hospital length of stay (LOS).

Study design: Hematocrit levels were categorized into 4 classes: severe, moderate, mild, and no anemia. From 2005 to 2008, the NSQIP database recorded 23,348 elective open and laparoscopic colectomies that met inclusion criteria. Analyses using multivariable models, controlling for potential confounders and stratifying on propensity score, were performed.

Results: Compared with nonanemic patients, those with severe, moderate, and mild anemia were more likely to have the adverse CO with odds ratios of 1.83 (95% CI 1.05 to 3.19), 2.19 (95 % CI 1.63 to 2.94), and 1.49 (95% CI 1.20 to 1.86), respectively. Patients with a normal hematocrit had a reduced hospital LOS, compared with those with severe, moderate, and mild anemia (p < 0.01). A history of cardiovascular disease did not significantly influence these findings.

Conclusions: This large multicenter database analysis suggests that the presence of severe and moderate and even mild preoperative anemia is an independent risk factor for complications and a longer hospital stay after colon surgery.

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