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Factors Affecting Length of Stay and Discharge Needs After Lower Extremity Amputation
Anna Z Fashandi, Lily E Johnston, Gilbert R Upchurch, Jr., Kenneth J Cherry, Meghan C Tracci
University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA

Background: There is substantial variation in length of stay (LOS) and post-hospital needs in patients undergoing lower extremity amputation (LEA). This variation has significant implications for both patient and hospital costs. The goal of this study was to identify patient factors affecting postoperative LOS and need for placement at either skilled nursing facility (SNF) or inpatient rehabilitation facility (IRF) in order to develop a cost-effective clinical pathway to facilitate safe, timely discharge after LEA.
Methods: The Vascular Quality Initiative (VQI) provided institutional data on LEAs occurring between May 2013 and February 2015. All patients undergoing transmetatarsal (TMA), below-knee (BKA) or above-knee (AKA) amputations were eligible for inclusion and categorization was validated with chart review. Cost data were obtained through the institutional Clinical Data Repository (CDR). Measures of central tendency are presented as medians with interquartile range. Group differences were tested using Fisher’s exact test or Wilcoxon rank-sum test, where appropriate. Separate multivariable models were constructed using pre-hospital and in-hospital factors to account for the small group size. Statistical significance was set at p=0.05.
Results: Of the 91 patients identified, 6 (7%) died prior to discharge. On multivariable analysis, patients without insurance had 73% longer LOS (p=0.027, see Table 1) when compared to Medicare patients. Compared to patients admitted from home, those transferred from an outside hospital had 86% increased LOS (p=0.003). Patients admitted with acute limb ischemia stayed 148% longer (p=0.029) than those who had chronic limb ischemia and BKA patients had 41% longer LOS than those undergoing TMA (p=0.007). In those patients who required further surgeries, each additional procedure increased their LOS by 7% (p=<0.001).
68% of patients required placement in either SNF or IRF at discharge. On univariate analysis, patients who had prior percutaneous coronary intervention and those who had general anesthesia rather than nerve block were more likely to need placement (p=0.028 and p=0.04, respectively). Age was not associated with need for placement (p=0.24). No pre-hospital or in-hospital factors were significant on multivariable analysis (Table 2). The median postoperative LOS was similar in those who required placement and those who were discharged home (6.0 [3] vs 6.5 [10] days, p=0.45). The median hospital costs for those who required placement was comparable to patients who were discharged home (\,137 [\,887] vs \,150 [\,808], p=0.63).
Conclusions: These data suggest that two thirds of patients will require inpatient placement after LEA. Although this study did not identify pre-hospital or in-hospital factors that reliably predict need for placement, it did show several factors associated with increased postoperative LOS. Application of this analysis to a larger population may facilitate identification of both modifiable factors associated with increased LOS and need for placement.


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