The Association Between Hearing Loss and Surgical Complications in Older Adults.
OBJECTIVES: In this study, we sought to evaluate whether older patients with hearing loss who underwent surgery were at greater risk of postsurgical complications, increased inpatient length-of-stay (LOS), and hospital readmission. DESIGN: This was a retrospective cohort study of patients receiving surgery at a tertiary medical center. Utilizing electronic health record data from two merged datasets, we identified patients 65 years and older, undergoing major surgery between January 1, 2014 and January 31, 2017, and who had audiometric evaluation before surgery. Patients were classified as having either normal hearing or hearing loss based on pure-tone average in the better ear. A Generalized Estimating Equations approach was used to fit multivariable regression models for outcome variables of interest. RESULTS: Of patients ≥65 years undergoing major surgery in our time frame, a total of 742 surgical procedures were performed on 621 patients with available audiometric data. After adjusting for age, sex, race, and comorbidities, hearing loss was associated with an increase in the odds of developing postoperative complications. Every 10 dB increase in hearing loss was associated with a 14% increase in the odds of developing a postoperative complication (odds ratio = 1.14, 95% confidence interval = 1.01-1.29, p = 0.031). Hearing loss was not significantly associated with increased hospital LOS, 30-day readmission, or 90-day readmission. CONCLUSIONS: Hearing loss was significantly associated with developing postoperative complications in older adults undergoing major surgery. Screening for hearing impairment may be a useful addition to the preoperative assessment and perioperative management of older patients undergoing surgery.
Huang, RJ; Riska, KM; Gordee, A; Peskoe, SB; Francis, HW; Witsell, DL; Smith, SL
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