Insurance status predicts acuity of thoracic aortic operations.
OBJECTIVE: Nonelective case status is the strongest predictor of mortality for thoracic aortic operations. We hypothesized that underinsured patients were more likely to require nonelective thoracic aortic surgery because of reduced access to preventative cardiovascular care and elective surgical services. METHODS: Between June 2005 and August 2011, 826 patients were admitted to a single aortic referral center and underwent 1 or more thoracic aortic operations. Patients with private insurance or Medicare (insured group, n=736; 89%) were compared with those with Medicaid or no insurance (underinsured group, n=90; 11%). RESULTS: The proportion of patients requiring nonelective surgery was higher for underinsured than insured patients (56% vs 26%, P<.0001). Multivariable analysis revealed underinsurance to be the strongest independent predictor of nonelective case status (odds ratio [OR], 2.67; P<.0001). Preoperative use of lipid-lowering medications (OR, 0.63; P<.009) or a history of aortic surgery (OR, 0.48; P<.001) was associated with a decreased risk of nonelective operation. However, after adjustment for differences in preoperative characteristics and case status, underinsurance did not confer an increased risk of procedural morbidity or mortality (adjusted OR, 0.94; P=.83) or late death (adjusted hazard ratio, 0.83, P=.58) when compared with insured patients. CONCLUSIONS: Underinsured patients were at the greatest risk of requiring nonelective thoracic aortic operation, possibly because of decreased use of lipid-lowering therapies and aortic surveillance. These data imply that greater access to preventative cardiovascular care may reduce the need for nonelective thoracic aortic surgery and lead to improved survival from thoracic aortic disease.
Andersen, ND; Hanna, JM; Ganapathi, AM; Bhattacharya, SD; Williams, JB; Gaca, JG; McCann, RL; Hughes, GC
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