Do orthopaedic trauma patients develop higher rates of cardiac complications? An analysis of 56,000 patients

  • A. C. Dodd
  • N. Lakomkin
  • V. Sathiyakumar
  • W. T. Obremskey
  • M. K. SethiEmail author
Original Article



Less than 5 % of orthopaedic patients develop postoperative cardiac complications; however, there are little data suggesting which orthopaedic patients are at greatest risk. In an era where emerging reimbursement models place an emphasis on quality, reducing complications through perioperative planning will be of paramount importance for orthopaedic surgeons. The purpose of this study was to determine whether orthopaedic trauma patients are at greater risk for postoperative cardiac complications and to reveal which factors are most predictive of these complications.


All orthopaedic patients were identified in the 2006–2013 ACS-NSQIP database. Cardiac complications were defined as cardiac arrests or myocardial infarctions within 30 days following surgery. Chi squared analysis determined differences in cardiac complication rates between trauma and non-trauma patients. Bivariate analysis incorporating over 40 patient/surgical characteristics determined significant associations between patient characteristics and cardiac complications. These factors were incorporated into a multivariate regression model to identify predictive risk factors for cardiac complications.


The presence of a traumatic injury resulted in greater odds of developing cardiac complications (OR: 1.645, p < 0.001). The cardiac complication rate in the trauma group was 1.3 % compared to 0.3 % in the non-trauma group (p < 0.001). For trauma patients, ventilator use (OR: 27.354, p = 0.004), recent transfusion (OR: 19.780, p = 0.001), and history of coma (OR: 17.922, p = 0.020) were most predictive of cardiac complications.


Orthopaedic trauma patients are more likely to develop cardiac complications than non-trauma patients. To reduce cardiac complications, orthopaedic traumatologists should be aware of patient risk factors including ventilator use, blood transfusion, and history of coma.


Orthopaedic surgery Anatomic area Cardiac arrest Myocardial infarction Risk factors 


Compliance with ethical standards

This study was performed in accordance with the relevant regulations of the US Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and the ethical standards of the 1964 Declaration of Helsinki. The protocol was approved by the Vanderbilt Institutional Review Board.

Conflict of interest

Author William T. Obremskey (WTO) has done expert testimony in legal matters. The institution of one or more authors (WTO) has received a grant from the Department of Defense. Ashley C. Dodd, Nikita Lakomkin, Vasanth Sathiyakumar, and Manish K. Sethi declare they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. C. Dodd
    • 1
  • N. Lakomkin
    • 1
  • V. Sathiyakumar
    • 1
  • W. T. Obremskey
    • 1
  • M. K. Sethi
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.The Vanderbilt Orthopaedic Institute Center for Health PolicyNashvilleUSA

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