Background: Loss to follow-up (LTF) after surgery impacts quality of care and can adversely affect short- and long-term clinical outcomes. This study identifies modifiable factors contributing to LTF after vascular surgery and the factors’ effect on short- and long-term clinical outcomes. Methods: This is a retrospective single-center cohort study of 440 consecutive adult patients who underwent carotid endarterectomy, infrainguinal bypass, percutaneous lower extremity revascularization, or endovascular aortic aneurysm repair at Northwestern Memorial Hospital between November 2011 and November 2013. Twenty-six patients who died within 9 months after surgery were excluded because of competing risks with the study end points. Demographics, medical history and medications, hospitalization and procedure-related factors, and postoperative complications were collected from the medical record. The primary end point was LTF 1 month after surgery (LTF1M), defined as lack of an in-person outpatient visit with a vascular surgeon 1 month after the index procedure. Secondary outcomes were LTF 1 year after surgery (LTF1Y), defined as lack of an in-person outpatient visit with a vascular surgeon between 9 and 22 months after discharge, and overall 5-year survival. Results: Overall LTF1M and LTF1Y rates were 27.3% and 46.8%, respectively. Kaplan-Meier analysis revealed no difference in survival based on the LTF1M status (P = 0.72), but patients who were LTF1Y had significantly worse survival at 5 years (P < 0.001). Seeing a nonvascular surgeon specialist at our institution (odds ratio (OR) 0.58, 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.35–0.94, P = 0.03) and having a reintervention (OR 0.17, 95% CI: 0.08–0.37, P < 0.001) were associated with decreased LTF1Y in a multivariable model. Overall mortality was more likely with LTF1Y (hazard ratio (HR) 3.27, 95% CI: 1.86–5.76, P < 0.001) and less likely with seeing another specialist at our institution (HR 0.38, 95% CI: 0.20–0.75, P = 0.005). Conclusions: LTF rates after vascular surgery are high and associated with poor long-term outcomes. Patients who did not see a nonvascular surgeon specialist at our institution had higher rates of LTF1Y and worse overall mortality, suggesting that improved integration of care can improve LTF and survival.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine