Impact of bleeding-related complications and/or blood product transfusions on hospital costs in inpatient surgical patients

BMC Health Serv Res. 2011 May 31;11:135. doi: 10.1186/1472-6963-11-135.


Background: Inadequate surgical hemostasis may lead to transfusion and/or other bleeding-related complications. This study examines the incidence and costs of bleeding-related complications and/or blood product transfusions occurring as a consequence of surgery in various inpatient surgical cohorts.

Methods: A retrospective analysis was conducted using Premier's Perspective™ hospital database. Patients who had an inpatient procedure within a specialty of interest (cardiac, vascular, non-cardiac thoracic, solid organ, general, reproductive organ, knee/hip replacement, or spinal surgery) during 2006-2007 were identified. For each specialty, the rate of bleeding-related complications (including bleeding event, intervention to control for bleeding, and blood product transfusions) was examined, and hospital costs and length of stay (LOS) were compared between surgeries with and without bleeding-related complications. Incremental costs and ratios of average total hospital costs for patients with bleeding-related complications vs. those without complications were estimated using ordinary least squares (OLS) regression, adjusting for demographics, hospital characteristics, and other baseline characteristics. Models using generalized estimating equations (GEE) were also used to measure the impact of bleeding-related complications on costs while accounting for the effects related to the clustering of patients receiving care from the same hospitals.

Results: A total of 103,829 cardiac, 216,199 vascular, 142,562 non-cardiac thoracic, 45,687 solid organ, 362,512 general, 384,132 reproductive organ, 246,815 knee/hip replacement, and 107,187 spinal surgeries were identified. Overall, the rate of bleeding-related complications was 29.9% and ranged from 7.5% to 47.4% for reproductive organ and cardiac, respectively. Overall, incremental LOS associated with bleeding-related complications or transfusions (unadjusted for covariates) was 6.0 days and ranged from 1.3 to 9.6 days for knee/hip replacement and non-cardiac thoracic, respectively. The incremental cost per hospitalization associated with bleeding-related complications and adjusted for covariates was highest for spinal surgery ($17,279) followed by vascular ($15,123), solid organ ($13,210), non-cardiac thoracic ($13,473), cardiac ($10,279), general ($4,354), knee/hip replacement ($3,005), and reproductive organ ($2,805).

Conclusions: This study characterizes the increased hospital LOS and cost associated with bleeding-related complications and/or transfusions occurring as a consequence of surgery, and supports implementation of blood-conservation strategies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Algorithms
  • Blood Component Transfusion / adverse effects
  • Blood Component Transfusion / economics*
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Databases, Factual
  • Female
  • Health Care Costs / statistics & numerical data*
  • Hemorrhage / complications
  • Hemorrhage / economics*
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Infant
  • Inpatients / statistics & numerical data*
  • Intensive Care Units / economics
  • Intensive Care Units / statistics & numerical data
  • Length of Stay / statistics & numerical data
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Myocardial Infarction / economics
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / economics
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Assessment / methods
  • United States
  • Young Adult