Analysis of postdischarge costs following emergent general surgery in elderly patients.

Canadian journal of surgery. Journal canadien de chirurgie

PubMedID: 29171828

Eamer GJ, Clement F, Pederson JL, Churchill TA, Khadaroo RG. Analysis of postdischarge costs following emergent general surgery in elderly patients. Can J Surg. 2017;60(6):2617.
BACKGROUND
As populations age, more elderly patients will undergo surgery. Frailty and complications are considered to increase in-hospital cost in older adults, but little is known on costs following discharge, particularly those borne by the patient. We examined risk factors for increased cost and the type of costs accrued following discharge in elderly surgical patients.

METHODS
Acute abdominal surgery patients aged 65 years and older were prospectively enrolled. We assessed baseline clinical characteristics, including Clinical Frailty Scale (CFS) scores. We calculated 6-month cost (in Canadian dollars) from patient-reported use following discharge according to the validated Health Resource Utilization Inventory. Primary outcomes were 6-month overall cost and cost for health care services, medical products and lost productive hours. Outcomes were log-transformed and assessed in multivariable generalized linear and zero-inflated negative binomial regressions and can be interpreted as adjusted ratios (AR). Complications were assessed according to Clavien-Dindo classification.

RESULTS
We included 150 patients (mean age 75.5 ± 7.6 yr; 54.1% men) in our analysis; 10.8% had major and 43.2% had minor complications postoperatively. The median 6-month overall cost was $496 (interquartile range $140-$1948). Disaggregated by cost type, frailty independently predicted increasing costs of health care services (AR 1.76, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.43-2.18, p < 0.001) and medical products (AR 1.61, 95% CI 1.15-2.25, p = 0.005), but decreasing costs in lost productive hours (AR 0.39, p = 0.002). Complications did not predict increased cost.

CONCLUSION
Frail patients accrued higher health care services and product costs, but lower costs from lost productive hours. Interventions in elderly surgical patients should consider patient-borne cost in older adults and lost productivity in less frail patients.

TRIAL REGISTRATION
NCT02233153 (clinicaltrials.gov).