COLUMBUS, OHIO (FRONTLINE MEDICAL NEWS) – Infections account for more than one-third of readmissions after endovascular lower-extremity procedures, but an analysis of these procedures over a 6-year period has identified a handful of factors, including an extended hospital stay, that may help vascular surgeons identify patients at greatest risk and reduce infection-related readmissions.

“Of a little over 7,000 patients that we evaluated with peripheral artery disease who underwent an elective lower-extremity procedure, we found an overall readmission rate of 10.9%; about 9.5% for those who underwent an open procedure and just over 12% for those who underwent an endovascular procedure,” Joseph C. Melvin, MD, of the University of Missouri Hospitals & Clinics in Columbia said at the annual meeting of the Midwestern Vascular Surgery Society.

The researchers selected 7,089 patients from the Cerner Health Facts database who had elective lower-extremity (LE) procedures from September 2008 to March 2014; 3,615 had open operations, and 3,474 had endovascular procedures, Dr. Melvin said. Of 770 readmissions, 289 (37.5%) had a diagnosis of infection at readmission.

While the readmission rate for open operations was lower, the infection rate at readmission was higher for open procedures: 45.5% (157 of 345 readmissions) vs. 31.1% (132 of 425 readmissions), Dr. Melvin said.

“The risk factors for diagnosis of infection at readmission we found to be significant were anemia, chronic kidney disease, and end-stage renal disease, any infection at the time of the index admission, specifically cellulitis or abscess of the lower extremity given the patient’s peripheral artery disease status, diabetes, and then complications including posthemorrhagic anemia,” Dr. Melvin said. Laboratory testing values at the time of index admissions confirmed the risk factors.

The investigators also used multivariable logistic regression models in the analysis and found that factors most predictive of an infection-related readmission were length of stay, having the procedure at a teaching facility, anemia, and infection at the index admission, Dr. Melvin said.

The surgical site was the most common source of the infection, and Staphylococcus “not surprisingly” accounted for 25% of pathogens, Dr. Melvin said. “But what we did find to be interesting was that just over 40% of patients were found to have a gram-negative bacteria isolated, which would come into play with our decision with regards to antibiotic treatment,” he said.

The data suggest that further evaluation of ways to decrease postoperative infections and use of broad-spectrum antibiotics during readmissions may improve outcomes after open lower-extremity procedures, Dr. Melvin said.

Dr. Melvin had no financial relationships to disclose.