Depression Predicts Non-Home Discharge After Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm Repair

Ann Vasc Surg. 2021 Jul;74:131-140. doi: 10.1016/j.avsg.2020.12.019. Epub 2021 Jan 24.


Background: Mental health's impact on vascular surgical patients has long been overlooked. While outside the expertise of most surgeons, understanding the role that depression plays in the postoperative course could provide additional insight into opportunities to improve surgical outcomes and healthcare value. Additionally, non-home discharge (NHD) to a rehabilitation or skilled nursing facility after surgery is associated with impaired quality of life and higher postdischarge complications, readmissions, and mortality. We hypothesized that depression would be associated with an increased risk for NHD following abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) repair.

Methods: Nonruptured AAA repair cases were identified from the National Inpatient Sample (NIS) using ICD-9 codes between 2005 and 2014. Depression, comorbidities, postoperative complications, and discharge destination were evaluated using statistical tests as appropriate to the data. A hierarchical multivariable logistic regression controlling for hospital level variation was used to examine the independent association between depression, and the primary outcome of NHD controlling for median income and confounders meeting P < 0.05 on univariate analysis.

Results: There were 99,934 total cases analyzed, of which 4,755 (4.8%) were diagnosed with depression and 10,618 (11.9%) required NHD. Patients with depression were younger, more likely to be women, white, have diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, hypertension, tobacco use, and more likely to experience a postoperative complication. On adjusted multivariable analysis, patients with depression were more likely to require NHD (odds ratio [OR] 1.87, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.68-2.08, c-statistic = 0.82). On stratified analysis by operative approach, depression had a larger effect estimate in endovascular repair (OR 2.19; 95% CI: 1.90-2.52) versus open repair (OR 1.60; 95% CI: 1.38-1.87).

Conclusions: In a nationally representative sample, patients with depression were more likely to require NHD after AAA repair. This study highlights the importance that depression plays in postoperative outcomes after AAA repair. Furthermore, addressing mental health preoperatively has the potential to improve outcomes in patients undergoing AAA repair.