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Ann Thorac Surg. 2013 Sep;96(3):871-7. doi: 10.1016/j.athoracsur.2013.04.041. Epub 2013 Jul 16.

Long-term fate of patients discharged to extended care facilities after cardiovascular surgery.

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Cardiopulmonary Research Science and Technology Institute, Dallas, Texas, USA.



The Society of Thoracic Surgeons predictive algorithms can be used to help patients understand the risks in having a surgical procedure. However, elderly patients are frequently more concerned about the quality of their remaining life and whether they will return home. Currently, we have no predictors of which patients are likely to return to independent living after surgery. We followed patients discharged home or to an extended care facility to determine which patients were most likely to return home and be alive at one year.


This single-hospital, retrospective study followed 590 cardiac surgery patients (January 2008 to December 2009) for at least 1 year after discharge. Follow-up data were collected by contacting facilities, patients, and families, and Social Security Death Index searches.


At hospital discharge, 84.4% went home, 3.7% to rehab, 7.5% to skilled nursing facilities (SNF), and 4.4% to a long-term acute care facility (LTAC). Predictors for facility discharge include increasing age, female, dialysis, emergent status, procedures other than CAB, preoperative stroke, and moderate to severe tricuspid insufficiency. The most significant predictors of dying or still being in a facility at 1 year include being on dialysis, right heart failure, and having chronic lung disease. Considering perioperative complications, requiring prolonged ventilation decreases the odds of being home and alive at 1 year by 67%: one-year survival at home, 95.4%; rehabilitation, 63.6%; SNF, 52.3%; and LTAC, 30.8%.


Many patients discharged to extended care do not return to their previous lifestyle; only 30.8% of those requiring care in a LTAC facility are alive at home at 1 year.


18; 4

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