A Matched Comparison of Postoperative Complications Between Smokers and Nonsmokers Following Open Reduction Internal Fixation of Distal Radius Fractures

J Hand Surg Am. 2021 Jan;46(1):1-9.e4. doi: 10.1016/j.jhsa.2020.09.020.


Purpose: The purpose of the present study was to identify differences in 30-day adverse events, reoperations, readmissions, and mortality for smokers and nonsmokers who undergo operative treatment for a distal radius fracture.

Methods: The American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (NSQIP) database was queried for patients who had operatively treated distal radius fractures between 2005 and 2017. Patient characteristics and surgical variables were assessed. Thirty-day outcome data were collected on serious (SAEs) and minor adverse events (MAEs), as well as on infection, return to the operating room, readmission, and mortality. Multivariable logistic analyses with and without propensity-score matching was used to compare outcome measures between the smoker and the nonsmoker cohorts.

Results: In total, 16,158 cases were identified, of whom 3,062 were smokers. After 1:1 propensity-score matching, the smoking and nonsmoking cohorts had similar demographic characteristics. Based on the multivariable propensity-matched logistic regression, cases in the smoking group had a significantly higher rate of any adverse event (AAE) (odds ratio [OR], 1.75; 95% confidence interval [95% CI], 1.28-2.38), serious adverse event (SAE) (OR, 1.75; 95% CI, 1.22-2.50), and minor adverse event (MAE) (OR, 1.84; 95% CI, 1.04-3.23). Smokers also had higher rates of infection (OR, 1.73; 95% CI, 1.26-2.39), reoperation (OR, 2.07; 95% CI, 1.13-3.78), and readmission (OR, 1.83; 95% CI, 1.20-2.79). There was no difference in 30-day mortality rate.

Conclusions: Smokers who undergo open reduction internal fixation of distal radius fractures had an increased risk of 30-day perioperative adverse events, even with matching and controlling for demographic characteristics and comorbidity status. This information can be used for patient counseling and may be helpful for treatment/management planning.

Type of study/level of evidence: Prognostic II.

Keywords: Distal radius; fixation; open reduction; smoker; smoking.