Antiretroviral therapy (ART) has converted human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection into a chronic condition, and patients now undergo a variety of surgical procedures, but current surgical outcomes are inadequately characterized.
To compare 30-day postoperative mortality in patients with HIV infection receiving ART with the rates in uninfected individuals.
DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS
Retrospective analysis of nationwide electronic medical record data from the US Veterans Health Administration Healthcare System, October 1, 1996, to September 30, 2010. Common inpatient surgical procedures were grouped using the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project Clinical Classification System to match HIV-infected and uninfected patients in a 1:2 ratio. Data on 1641 patients with HIV infection receiving combination ART who were undergoing inpatient surgery were compared with data on 3282 procedure-matched, uninfected comparators. Poisson regression models of 30-day postoperative mortality were adjusted for procedure year, age, Charlson Comorbidity Index score, hemoglobin level, albumin level, HIV infection, CD4 cell count, and HIV-1 RNA level.
MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES
All-cause 30-day postoperative mortality.
The most common procedures in both groups were cholecystectomy (10.5%), hip arthroplasty (10.5%), spine surgery (9.8%), herniorrhaphy (7.4%), and coronary artery bypass grafting (7.0%). In patients with HIV infection, CD4 cell distributions were 80.0% with 200/µL or more, 16.3% with 50/µL to 199/µL, and 3.7% with less than 50/µL; 74.1% of patients with HIV infection had undetectable HIV-1 RNA. Human immunodeficiency virus infection was associated with higher 30-day postoperative mortality compared with the mortality in uninfected patients (3.4% [56 patients]) vs 1.6% ); incidence rate ratio [IRR], 2.11; 95% CI, 1.41–3.17; P < .001). CD4 cell count was inversely associated with mortality, but HIV-1 RNA provided no additional information. After adjustment, patients with HIV infection had increased mortality compared with uninfected patients at all CD4 cell count strata (≥500/µL: IRR, 1.92; 95% CI, 1.02–3.60; P = .04; 200–499/µL: IRR, 1.89; 95% CI, 1.20–2.98; P = .01; 50–199/µL: IRR, 2.66; 95% CI, 1.29–5.47; P = .01; and <50/µL: IRR, 6.21; 95% CI, 3.55–10.85; P < .001). Hypoalbuminemia (IRR, 4.35; 95% CI, 2.78–6.81; P < .001) and age in decades (IRR, 1.47; 95% CI, 1.23–1.76; P < .001) were also strongly associated with mortality.
CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE
Current postoperative mortality rates among individuals with HIV infection who are receiving ART are low and are influenced as much by hypoalbuminemia and age as by CD4 cell status. Human immunodeficiency virus infection and CD4 cell count are only 2 of many factors associated with surgical outcomes that should be incorporated into surgical decision making.