Correlation of postoperative epidural analgesia on morbidity and mortality after colectomy in Medicare patients

Christopher L. Wu, Andrew J. Rowlingson, Robert Herbert, Jeffrey M. Richman, Robert A.F. Andrews, Lee A. Fleisher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


Study Objective: To examine, with a large database, the effect of postoperative epidural analgesia (vs systemic analgesia) on mortality after colectomy is unclear. Design: Retrospective cohort (database) design. Setting: Medicare beneficiaries undergoing elective colectomy. Patients: We examined a cohort of 12 817 patients obtained from a 5% nationally random sample of Medicare beneficiaries from 1997 to 2001 who underwent elective partial excision of the large intestine. Interventions: Patients were divided into two groups depending on the presence or absence of billing for postoperative epidural analgesia (Current Procedural Terminology code 01996). Measurements: The primary outcomes assessed were death at 7 and 30 days after the procedure. The rates of major morbidity were also compared. Multivariate regression analysis incorporating race, gender, age, comorbidities, hospital size, hospital teaching status, and hospital technology status was performed to determine whether the presence of postoperative epidural analgesia had an independent effect on mortality or major morbidity. Main Results: Multivariate regression analysis revealed that there was no difference between the groups with regard to overall major morbidity; however, the presence of epidural analgesia was associated with a significantly lower odds of death at 7 days (odds ratio, 0.35; 95% confidence interval, 0.21-0.59; P < 0.0001) and 30 days (odds ratio, 0.54; 95% confidence interval, 0.42-0.70; P < 0.0001) after surgery. Conclusions: The presence of postoperative epidural analgesia may decrease the odds of death after elective colectomy; however, the mechanism of such a benefit is not clear from our analysis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)594-599
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Clinical Anesthesia
Issue number8
StatePublished - Dec 2006


  • Colectomy
  • Epidural
  • Medicare
  • Mortality
  • Pain
  • Postoperative

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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