A retrospective study evaluating the association between hypoalbuminemia and postoperative outcomes for patients receiving open rotator cuff repair

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Journal of orthopaedics






Complications; Hypoalbuminemia; Malnutrition; Open rotator cuff repair


Purpose: Malnutrition has historically been shown to influence surgical outcomes. Although the diagnosis of malnutrition can be multifactorial, serum albumin levels serve as a useful indicator of malnutrition in patients undergoing orthopaedic surgery. The purpose of this study is to examine the prevalence of post-operative complications in patients with malnutrition (hypoalbuminemia) who underwent open rotator cuff repair. We hypothesized that patients with low preoperative albumin levels will have an increased risk for postoperative complications, readmission, reoperation, and prolonged hospital stay. Methods: The National Surgical Quality Improvement Program database was queried for patients undergoing open rotator cuff repair from 2006 to 2019. Two patient cohorts were defined: patients with hypoalbuminemia (<3.5 g/dL) and patients with normal preoperative serum albumin (≥3.5 g/dL), with the former being an indicator for malnutrition. In this analysis, demographics, comorbidities, and postoperative complications were compared between the two cohorts using bivariate analyses. Confounding factors found in the control group included sex, race, age, body mass index, smoking status, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, hypertension, dialysis, diabetes, and dyspnea. To eliminate potential biases, multivariable logistic regression was used to adjust for these confounding factors. Results: Of 3,052 patients undergoing open rotator cuff repair with serum albumin levels recorded within 90 days before the surgery, 2,914 patients (95.5%), with an age range of 21-90 years, had normal albumin levels and 138 patients (4.5%), with an age range of 24-87 years, were hypoalbuminemic. Following adjustment on multivariate analyses, compared to patients with normal preoperative serum albumin, those with hypoalbuminemia had an increased risk of extended length of hospital stay (OR 7.47; p < 0.001) and hospital readmission (OR 4.16; p = 0.002). Conclusion: Hypoalbuminemia is associated with extended length of stay and readmission after receiving open rotator cuff repair surgery.


Orthopaedic Surgery