Effect of ethnicity and insurance type on the outcome of open thoracic aortic aneurysm repair

Erin H. Murphy, Gregory A. Stanley, M. Zachary Arko, Charles M. Davis, J. Gregory Modrall, Frank R. Arko

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Objectives: Mortality and complication rates for open thoracic aortic aneurysm repair have declined but remain high. The purpose of this study is to determine the influence of ethnicity and insurance type on procedure selection and outcome after open thoracic aneurysm repair. Methods: Using the Nationwide Inpatient Sample database, ethnicity and insurance type were evaluated against the outcome variables of mortality and major complications associated with open thoracic aneurysm repair. The potential cofounders of age, gender, urgency of operation, and Deyo index of comorbidities were controlled. Results: Between 2001 and 2005, a total of 10,557 patients were identified who underwent elective open thoracic aneurysm repair, with a significantly greater proportion of white patients (n = 8524) compared with black patients (n = 819), Hispanic patients (n = 556), and patients categorized as other (n = 658). Most patients (67%) were male. Almost half (45%) of the procedures were performed for urgent/emergent indications. Overall mortality was 10.7% (n = 1126) and the rate of spinal cord ischemia was 0.4% (n = 43). Univariate analysis revealed significant differences among race with regard to surgery type, income, hospital region, hospital bed size, and insurance type (P < 0.0001). Differences between insurance coverage were significant for gender, surgery type, income, hospital region, and race (P < 0.0001). Bivariate analysis by race revealed differences for death (P < 0.0001), pneumonia (P < 0.0001), renal complications (P = 0.011), implant complications (P < 0.0001), temporary tracheostomy (P = 0.004), transfusion (P < 0.0001), and intubation (P < 0.0001). In terms of payer status, bivariate analysis by insurance coverage revealed differences in death (P < 0.0001), central nervous system complications (P = 0.008), pneumonia (P < 0.0001), myocardial infarction (P = 0.001), infection (P < 0.0001), renal complications (P < 0.0001), malnutrition (P < 0.0001), temporary tracheostomy (P < 0.0001), spinal cord ischemia (P = 0.001), transfusion (P < 0.0001), and intubation (P < 0.0001). Conclusions: A high percentage of open thoracic procedures (45%) are performed urgently or emergently in the United States, which is associated with increased morbidity and mortality. Both ethnicity and payer status were associated with significant differences in surgical outcomes, including mortality and frequency of complications after open thoracic aortic aneurysm repair.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)699-707
Number of pages9
JournalAnnals of Vascular Surgery
Issue number6
StatePublished - Aug 1 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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