Preoperative anemia may be treated with a blood transfusion. Both are associated with adverse outcomes in various surgical procedures, but this has not been clearly elucidated in surgery for cerebral aneurysms. In this study the authors assessed the association of preoperative anemia and perioperative blood transfusion, separately, on 30-day morbidity and mortality in patients undergoing open surgery for ruptured and unruptured intracranial aneurysms.
The authors identified 668 cases (including 400 unruptured and 268 unruptured intracranial aneurysms) of open surgery for treatment of intracranial aneurysms in the 2006–2012 National Surgical Quality Improvement Program, a validated and reproducible prospective clinical database. Anemia was defined as a hematocrit level less than 39% in males and less than 36% in females. Perioperative transfusion was defined as at least 1 unit of packed or whole red blood cells given at any point between the start of surgery to 72 hours postoperatively. The authors separately compared surgical outcome between patients with (n = 198) versus without (n = 470) anemia, and those who underwent (n = 78) versus those who did not receive (n = 521) a transfusion, using a 1:1 match on propensity score.
In the matched cohorts, all observed covariates were comparable between anemic (n = 147) versus nonanemic (n = 147) and between transfused (n = 67) versus nontransfused patients (n = 67). Anemia was independently associated with prolonged hospital length of stay (LOS; odds ratio [OR] 2.5, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.4–4.5), perioperative complications (OR 1.9, 95% CI 1.1–3.1), and return to the operating room (OR 2.1, 95% CI 1.1–4.5). Transfusion was also independently associated with perioperative complications (OR 2.4, 95% CI 1.1–5.3).
Preoperative anemia and transfusion are each independent risk factors for perioperative complications in patients undergoing surgery for cerebral aneurysms. Perioperative anemia is also associated with prolonged hospital LOS and 30-day return to the operating room.