Background: Preoperative anemia is independently associated with adverse outcomes after general and cardiac surgery. Outcomes after breast reconstruction are not established. We assessed the effect of preoperative anemia on 30-day postoperative morbidity and length of hospital stay (LOS) in patients undergoing immediate breast reconstruction. Methods: We identified patients undergoing immediate breast reconstruction from 2008 to 2010 from the American College of Surgeons' National Surgical Quality Improvement Program database (a prospective outcomesbased registry from hospitals worldwide). De-identified data were obtained for demographics, preoperative risk factors, 30-day morbidity, and LOS. Morbidity variables included flap/graft/prosthesis, cardiac, respiratory, neurological, urinary, wound, and venous thromboembolism outcomes. Logistic regression assessed the crude and adjusted effect of anemia (hematocrit <36%) on postoperative 30-day morbidity. Measures of central tendency of LOS were compared across increasing severities of anemia in patients developing adverse events versus controls. Results: The study population included 10,958 patients; 1556 (16.74%) had preoperative anemia. Crude odds ratio for 30-day morbidity was significantly higher in anemic patients, unadjusted odds ratio = 1.33 (P < 0.008). This prevailed after extensive adjustment for confounding, yielding an adjusted odds ratio = 1.38 (P < 0.03). Patients who experienced adverse effects had protracted LOS, and the presence of anemia significantly amplified this effect. Conclusions: These data provide new insight into the effect of anemia in immediate breast reconstruction, demonstrating an independent association between preoperative anemia and 30-day morbidity. These findings suggest treating anemia when possible; however, prospective studies should explore the efficacy, safety, and cost-effectiveness of such treatments.
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