Elective infrainguinal lower extremity bypass for claudication is associated with high postoperative intensive care utilization

Husain N. Alshaikh, Caitlin W. Hicks, Sandra R. DiBrito, Devin S. Zarkowsky, Jeffrey J. Siracuse, Mahmoud B. Malas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Background: The overall use of intensive care units (ICUs) in the United States has been steadily increasing and is associated with tremendous health care costs. We suspect that the burden of ICU utilization after elective infrainguinal lower extremity bypass (LEB) procedures is high, despite relatively low risks of complications in the immediate postoperative period. We sought to identify the burden of ICU utilization after elective LEB in patients with claudication. Methods: We queried the Premier Healthcare Database for all adult patients undergoing first recorded elective infrainguinal LEB for claudication from 2009 to 2015. Baseline characteristics and ICU utilization on postoperative day 0 (POD 0) were identified for each patient using Premier room and board chargemaster codes. A bivariate logistic regression was performed and postestimation concordance statistics were calculated to identify predictors of postoperative ICU vs regular surgical floor admission immediately after surgery. Results: There were 6010 patients who met the selection criteria, of whom 2772 (46.1%) were admitted to the ICU and 3238 (53.9%) to the regular surgical floor on POD 0. Whereas patient-level factors were responsible for minor differences found in postoperative admission to the ICU after elective LEB, hospital characteristics made up the majority of variation in admission practices. Specifically, patients undergoing elective infrainguinal LEB in rural, nonteaching, small hospitals and those in certain geographic regions were more likely to be admitted to the ICU than to the floor (all, P < .001). Patient-level factors were poorly predictive of admission to the ICU immediately postoperatively, with C statistics ranging from 0.50 to 0.53. In contrast, hospital-level factors had higher C statistics ranging from 0.51 to 0.66, with geographic location being the strongest predictor of post-LEB ICU admission. There were no significant differences in the incidence of postoperative wound complications, major adverse limb events, major adverse cardiac events, or in-hospital mortality between groups (all, P ≥ .32). The median total hospital cost was $2340 higher for ICU compared with floor admission ($13,273 [interquartile range, $10,136-$17,883] vs $10,927 [interquartile range, $8342-$14,523]; P < .001). Conclusions: Nearly half of patients are admitted to an ICU directly after elective infrainguinal LEB for claudication. This practice is associated with significantly higher hospital cost and is predominantly influenced by hospital-level rather than by patient-level factors. Perioperative morbidity and mortality were similar regardless of postoperative disposition. To minimize ICU utilization, postoperative care intensity should be determined by clinical severity of the patient rather than by hospital routine.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1863-1873.e1
JournalJournal of vascular surgery
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2019


  • Claudication
  • Costs
  • Intensive care unit
  • Lower extremity bypass

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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