Original Research

Risk Factors for In-Hospital Myocardial Infarction After Shoulder Arthroplasty

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Primary Diagnosis

In this series, patients with a primary diagnosis of proximal humerus fracture were more likely to have an in-hospital MI. This finding is consistent with previous studies indicating a higher rate of complications for proximal humerus fracture patients than for shoulder arthroplasty patients.31,32 Given that more than 75% of patients who present with a proximal humerus fracture are older than 70 years, it would be prudent to examine operative indications after this diagnosis,33 particularly as benefit from surgery for fractures has not been definitively demonstrated.34-37


Many of the patients in our MI cohort presented with congestive heart failure, angina pectoris, complicated diabetes, renal failure, fluid and electrolyte disorders, or deficiency anemia. This is in keeping with other studies indicating that preexisting cardiovascular morbidity increases the rate of MI after various forms of arthroplasty.7-11 Patients in our MI cohort were also susceptible to a variety of post-MI perioperative complications, including pulmonary embolism, pneumonia, deep venous thrombosis, cerebrovascular event, acute renal failure, gastrointestinal complication, mechanical ventilation, transfusion, and nonroutine discharge, and their incidence of death was higher. These findings are consistent with reports that postoperative cardiovascular complications increase the degree of morbidity and mortality in arthroplasty patients.14-16 It is also worth noting that the odds of MI in the perioperative period increase with each subsequent day of care. This is understandable given that patients presenting with numerous comorbidities are at increased risk for perioperative complications38 resulting in hospital readmission.39

The literature indicates that MI occurs as a complication in 0.7% of patients who undergo noncardiac surgery,7 though some series have shown it is more prevalent after arthroplasty procedures.28,40 MI significantly increases the rate of perioperative morbidity and mortality,8 and perioperative cardiac morbidity is a leading cause of death after anesthesia and surgery.12 Furthermore, the most common cause of death after lower extremity arthroplasty is cardiovascular-related.41,42 In patients who presented for elective hip arthroplasty, cardiorespiratory disease was one of the main risk factors (with older age and male sex) shown to increase perioperative mortality.43

Perioperative cardiovascular complications increase postoperative morbidity and mortality.12 The rate of cardiovascular complications after shoulder arthroplasty ranges from 0.8% to 2.6%, and the incidence of MI hovers between 0.3% and 0.9%.17,19,28,40,44 A recent study in 793 patients found that, over a 30-day period, cardiovascular complications accounted for more than one-fourth of all complications.17 Singh and colleagues19 analyzed cardiopulmonary complications after primary shoulder arthroplasty in a total of 3480 patients (4019 arthroplasties) and found this group had a 90-day cardiac morbidity (MI, congestive heart failure, arrhythmia) rate of 2.6%. In that study, a Deyo-Charlson index of 1 or more was a significant independent risk factor for cardiac complications following surgery. Scores on this weighted index of 17 comorbidities are used to assess the complexities of a patient population. Given the severity of cardiovascular perioperative complications, it is important to preoperatively identify high-risk population groups and sufficiently study and optimize patients before shoulder arthroplasty.

There is much debate about the effectiveness of perioperative β-blockers in reducing perioperative cardiac morbidity and mortality.45-48 Such a discussion is outside of the scope of this article, but it may be prudent to seek a cardiology consultation for patients presenting with risk factors for perioperative MI. β-Blockers may prove useful in reducing cardiac morbidity in high-risk patients after noncardiac surgery.45,49

Many limitations are inherent in studies that use a nationally represented database such as NIS, which we used in this study. It is highly likely that NIS does not capture all potential postoperative complications, as this database is very large and subject to errors in data entry and clinical coding. In addition, detailed clinical information (eg, severity of certain comorbid diseases before shoulder arthroplasty, details about the intraoperative course) was not readily available for analysis. Another limitation, which may have led to an underestimate of complication rates, was our not being able to obtain information about postdischarge complications.

Despite these limitations, NIS and other databases have helped researchers answer questions about low-incidence conditions and generalize findings to a national population. In the present study, we analyzed 2 cohorts, patients with and without acute MI after shoulder arthroplasty, to determine predictors for and complications of postarthroplasty MI. We identified numerous predictors for acute MI: congestive heart failure, angina pectoris, complicated diabetes, renal failure, fluid and electrolyte disorders, and deficiency anemia prior to arthroplasty. As perioperative MI is associated with significant morbidity,14-16 it would be wise to screen patients for such comorbid conditions, assess the severity of these conditions, and offer shoulder arthroplasty with prudence.


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