Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Original research
Impact of opioid use disorders on outcomes and readmission following cardiac operations
  1. Josef Madrigal1,
  2. Yas Sanaiha1,
  3. Joseph Hadaya1,
  4. Puneet Dhawan2,
  5. Peyman Benharash1
  1. 1Cardiovascular Outcomes Research Laboratories (CORELAB), Division of Cardiac Surgery, David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California, USA
  2. 2Department of Surgery, Los Angeles County Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, Torrance, California, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Peyman Benharash, Cardiovascular Outcomes Research Laboratories (CORELAB), Division of Cardiac Surgery, David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA, USA; pbenharash{at}


Objective While opioid use disorder (OUD) has been previously associated with increased morbidity and resource use in cardiac operations, its impact on readmissions is understudied.

Methods Patients undergoing coronary artery bypass grafting and valve repair or replacement, excluding infective endocarditis, were identified in the 2010–16 Nationwide Readmissions Database. Using International Classification of Diseases 9/10, we tabulated OUD and other characteristics. Multivariable regression was used to adjust for differences.

Results Of an estimated 1 978 276 patients who had cardiac surgery, 5707 (0.3%) had OUD. During the study period, the prevalence of OUD increased threefold (0.15% in 2010 vs 0.53% in 2016, parametric trend<0.001). Patients with OUD were more likely to be younger (54.0 vs 66.0 years, p<0.001), insured by Medicaid (28.2 vs 6.2%, p<0.001) and of the lowest income quartile (33.6 vs 27.1%, p<0.001). After multivariable adjustment, OUD was associated with decreased mortality (1.5 vs 2.7%, p=0.001). Although these patients had similar rates of overall complications (36.1 vs 35.1%, p=0.363), they had increased thromboembolic (1.3 vs 0.8%, p<0.001) and infectious (4.1 vs 2.8%, p<0.001) events, as well as readmission at 30 days (19.0 vs 13.2%, p<0.001). While patients with OUD had similar hospitalisation costs ($50 766 vs $50 759, p=0.994), they did have longer hospitalisations (11.4 vs 10.3 days, p<0.001).

Conclusion The prevalence of OUD among cardiac surgical patients has steeply increased over the past decade. Although the presence of OUD was not associated with excess mortality at index hospitalisation, it was predictive of 30-day readmission. Increased attention to predischarge interventions and care coordination may improve outcomes in this population.

  • coronary artery disease surgery
  • valve disease surgery
  • quality and outcomes of care

Statistics from


  • Contributors Project conceptualisation: JM, YS and PB; statistical analysis: JM and YS; data interpretation, preparation/drafting of the manuscript, revision/editing and proofreading of the manuscript: all authors.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient and public involvement Patients and/or the public were not involved in the design, conduct, reporting or dissemination plans of this research.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data availability statement All data relevant to the study are included in the article or uploaded as supplementary information. The authors confirm that the data supporting the findings of this study are available within the article.

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.