Readmission following extracranial-intracranial bypass surgery in the United States: Nationwide rates, causes, risk factors, and volume-driven outcomes

Kavelin Rumalla, Visish M. Srinivasan, Monica Gaddis, Peter Kan, Michael T. Lawton, Jan Karl Burkhardt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE Extracranial-intracranial (EC-IC) bypass surgery remains an important treatment option for patients with moyamoya disease (MMD), intracranial arteriosclerotic disease (ICAD) with symptomatic stenosis despite the best medical management, and complex aneurysms. The therapeutic benefit of cerebral bypass surgery depends on optimal patient selection and the minimization of periprocedural complications. The nationwide burden of readmissions and associated complications following EC-IC bypass surgery has not been previously described. Therefore, the authors sought to analyze a nationwide database to describe the national rates, causes, risk factors, complications, and morbidity associated with readmission following EC-IC bypass surgery for MMD, ICAD, and aneurysms. METHODS The Nationwide Readmissions Database (NRD) was queried for the years 2010-2014 to identify patients who had undergone EC-IC bypass for MMD, medically failed symptomatic ICAD, or unruptured aneurysms. Predictor variables included demographics, preexisting comorbidities, indication for surgery, and hospital bypass case volume. A high-volume center (HVC) was defined as one that performed 10 or more cases/year. Outcome variables included perioperative stroke, discharge disposition, length of stay, total hospital costs, and readmission (30 days, 90 days). Multivariable analysis was used to identify predictors of readmission and to study the effect of treatment at HVCs on quality outcomes. RESULTS In total, 2500 patients with a mean age of 41 years were treated with EC-IC bypass surgery for MMD (63.1%), ICAD (24.5%), or unruptured aneurysms (12.4%). The 30- and 90-day readmission rates were 7.5% and 14.0%, respectively. Causes of readmission included new stroke (2.5%), wound complications (2.5%), graft failure (1.5%), and other infection (1.3%). In the multivariable analysis, risk factors for readmission included Medicaid/self-pay (OR 1.6, 95% CI 1.1-2.4, vs private insurance), comorbidity score (OR 1.2, 95% CI 1.1-1.4, per additional comorbidity), and treatment at a non-HVC (OR 1.9, 95% CI 1.1-3.0). Treatment at an HVC (17% of patients) was associated with significantly lower rates of nonroutine discharge dispositions (13.4% vs 26.7%, p = 0.004), ischemic stroke within 90 days (0.8% vs 2.9%, p = 0.03), 30-day readmission (3.9% vs 8.2%, p = 0.03), and 90-day readmission (8.6% vs 15.2%, p = 0.01). These findings were confirmed in a multivariable analysis. The authors estimate that centralization to HVCs may result in 333 fewer nonroutine discharges (50% reduction), 12,000 fewer hospital days (44% reduction), 165 fewer readmissions (43%), and a cost savings of $15.3 million (11% reduction). CONCLUSIONS Readmission rates for patients after EC-IC bypass are comparable with those after other common cranial procedures and are primarily driven by preexisting comorbidities, socioeconomic status, and treatment at lowvolume centers. Periprocedural complications, including stroke, graft failure, and wound complications, occurred at the expected rates, consistent with those in prior clinical series. The centralization of care may significantly reduce perioperative complications, readmissions, and hospital resource utilization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)431-439
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of neurosurgery
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Cerebral aneurysm
  • Cerebral bypass
  • Extracranial-intracranial
  • Icad
  • Intracranial arteriosclerotic disease
  • Moyamoya disease
  • Nationwide
  • Readmission
  • Vascular disorders

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


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