Following a carotid endarterectomy (CEA) procedure, patients are discharged to their homes or other locations than home such as an acute care facility or skilled nursing facility based on their functional status and level of medical attention needed. Decision-making for discharge destination following a CEA to home or non-home locations is important due to the differences in survival and post-operative complications. While primary outcomes such as mortality and occurrence of stroke following CEA have been extensively studied, there is a paucity of information characterizing outcomes of discharge destination and the factors associated. The purpose of this study was to explore the factors associated with discharge to non-home destinations after CEA, and outcomes after discharge.
Using the American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (ACS-NSQIP) database, we identified patients who underwent CEA from 2011-2018. Patients were divided into two groups based on their discharge destination (home vs. non-home). Univariate and multivariate analysis were performed for preoperative and intraoperative factors associated with different discharge destinations. Postoperative complications associated with discharge to non-home destinations were analyzed and mortality after discharge from hospital was compared between the two groups.
A total of 25,094 patients met the criteria for inclusion in the study, of which 39% were females and 61% were males; median age was 71 years. 24,125 patients (93.13%) were discharged to home (Group I) and 1,779 (6.87%) were discharged to non-home destinations (Group II). Following preoperative and intraoperative factors were associated with discharge to non-home locations: older age, diabetes mellitus, functional independent status, transfer from other hospitals, symptomatic status, need for preoperative blood transfusions, severe ipsilateral carotid stenosis, elective CEA, need for intraoperative shunt and general anesthesia (all p<0.05). Following postoperative complications had statistically significant association with discharge to non-home destinations: postoperative blood transfusion, pneumonia, unplanned intubation, longer than 48 hours on ventilator, development of stroke, myocardial infarction, deep vein thrombosis, and sepsis (all p<0.05). Mortality after discharge from hospital was 0.39% (n=100). Mortality among those who were discharged to home was 0.29% versus 1.63% for those who were discharged to non-home locations (p<0.05).
Majority of the patients after CEA are discharged back to their homes. This study identifies the factors which predispose patients discharged to locations, other than home. Patients who are not discharged home have higher mortality as compared to those who are discharged to their homes.

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