OBJECTIVE: To evaluate modern surgical outcomes in patients with stable heart failure undergoing elective major noncardiac surgery and to compare the experience of patients with heart failure who have reduced vs preserved left ventricular ejection fraction (EF). PATIENTS AND METHODS: We retrospectively studied 557 consecutive patients with heart failure (192 EF ≤40% and 365 EF >40%) and 10,583 controls who underwent systematic evaluation by hospitalists in a preoperative clinic before having major elective noncardiac surgery between January 1, 2003, and March 31, 2006. We examined outcomes in the entire cohort and in propensity-matched case-control groups. RESULTS: Unadjusted 1-month postoperative mortality in patients with both types of heart failure vs controls was 1.3% vs 0.4% ( P=.009), but this difference was not significant in propensity-matched groups ( P=.09). Unadjusted differences in mean hospital length of stay among heart failure patients vs controls (5.7 vs 4.3 days; P<.001) and 1-month readmission (17.8% vs 8.5%; P<.001) were also markedly attenuated in propensity-matched groups. Crude 1-year hazard ratios for mortality were 1.71 (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.5-2.0) for both types of heart failure, 2.1 (95% CI, 1.7-2.6) in patients with heart failure who had EF >40%, and 1.4 (95% CI, 1.2-1.8) in those who had EF >40% ( P<.01 for all 3 comparisons); however, the differences were not significant in propensity-matched groups ( P=.43). CONCLUSION: Patients with clinically stable heart failure did not have high perioperative mortality rates in association with elective major noncardiac surgery, but they were more likely than patients without heart failure to have longer hospital stays, were more likely to require hospital readmission, and had a substantial long-term mortality rate.
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