The effects of the type of anesthesia on outcomes of lower extremity infrainguinal bypass

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Journal of Vascular Surgery








Objective: Three main types of anesthesia are used for infrainguinal bypass: general endotracheal anesthesia (GETA), spinal anesthesia (SA), and epidural anesthesia (EA). We analyzed a large clinical database to determine whether the type of anesthesia had any effect on clinical outcomes in lower extremity bypass. Methods: This study is an analysis of a prospectively collected database by the National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (NSQIP) of the Veterans Affairs Medical Centers. All patients from 1995 to 2003 in the NSQIP database who underwent infrainguinal arterial bypass were identified via Current Procedural Terminology codes. The 30-day morbidity and mortality outcomes for various types of anesthesia were compared by using univariate analysis and multivariate logistic regression to control for confounders. Results: The NSQIP database identified 14,788 patients (GETA, 9757 patients; SA, 2848 patients; EA, 2183 patients) who underwent a lower extremity infrainguinal arterial bypass during the study period. Almost all patients (99%) were men, and the mean age was 65.8 years. The type of anesthesia significantly affected graft failure at 30 days. Compared with SA, the odds of graft failure were higher for GETA (odds ratio, 1.43; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.16-1.77; P = .001). There was no statistically significant difference in 30-day graft failure between EA and SA. Regarding cardiac events, defined as postoperative myocardial infarction or cardiac arrest, patients with normal functional status (activities of daily living independence) and no history of congestive heart failure or stroke did worse with GETA than with SA (odds ratio, 1.8; 95% CI, 1.32-2.48; P < .0001). There was no statistically significant difference between EA and SA in the incidence of cardiac events. GETA, when compared with SA and EA, was associated with more cases of postoperative pneumonia (odds ratio: 2.2 [95% CI, 1.1-4.4; P = .034]. There was no significant difference between EA and SA with regard to postoperative pneumonia. Compared with SA, GETA was associated with an increased odds of returning to the operating room (odds ratio, 1.40; 95% CI, 1.20-1.64; P < .001), as was EA (odds ratio, 1.17; 95% CI, 1.05-1.31; P = .005). GETA was associated with a longer surgical length of stay on univariate analysis, but not after controlling for confounders. There was no significant difference in 30-day mortality among the three groups with univariate or multivariate analyses. Conclusions: Although GETA is the most common type of anesthesia used in infrainguinal bypasses, our results suggest that it is not the best strategy, because it is associated with significantly worse morbidity than regional techniques. © 2006 The Society for Vascular Surgery.

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