Cost and clinical outcomes of postoperative intensive care unit versus general floor management in head and neck free flap reconstructive surgery patients

Jaime A. Aponte-Ortiz, Alexandra J. Greenberg-Worisek, John P. Marinelli, Matthew May, Grant M. Spears, Joshua R. Labott, Jeffrey C. Mecham, Eric J. Moore, Sue L. Visscher, Bijan J. Borah, Jeffrey R. Janus

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Purpose: To compare clinical, surgical, and cost outcomes in patients undergoing head and neck free-flap reconstructive surgery in the setting of postoperative intensive care unit (ICU) against general floor management. Methods: Retrospective analysis of head and neck free-flap reconstructive surgery patients at a single tertiary academic medical center. Clinical data was obtained from medical records. Cost data was obtained via the Mayo Clinic Rochester Cost Data Warehouse, which assigns Medicare reimbursement rates to all professional billed services. Results: A total of 502 patients were included, with 82 managed postoperatively in the ICU and 420 on the general floor. Major postoperative outcomes did not differ significantly between groups (Odds Ratio[OR] 1.54; p = 0.41). After covariate adjustments, patients managed in the ICU had a 3.29 day increased average length of hospital stay (Standard Error 0.71; p < 0.0001) and increased need for take-back surgery (OR 2.35; p = 0.02) when compared to the general floor. No significant differences were noted between groups in terms of early free-flap complications (OR 1.38;p = 0.35) or late free-flap complications (Hazard Ratio 0.81; p = 0.61). Short-term cost was $8772 higher in the ICU (range = $5640–$11,903; p < 0.01). Long-term cost did not differ significantly. Conclusion: Postoperative management of head and neck oncologic free-flap patients in the ICU does not significantly improve major postoperative outcomes or free-flap complications when compared to general floor care, but does increase short-term costs. General floor management may be appropriate when cardiopulmonary compromise is not present.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number103029
JournalAmerican Journal of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Medicine and Surgery
Volume42
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 2021

Keywords

  • Free flap
  • General floor
  • Head and neck cancer
  • Healthcare cost
  • Intensive care unit
  • Outcomes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology

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