Perioperative Complications in Patients with Systemic Sclerosis: A Comparative Cohort Analysis A Comparative Cohort Analysis

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Zyad J. Carr


Background: Systemic sclerosis (SSc) is a rare autoimmune disorder with pathological manifestations affecting multiple organ systems. Few studies have examined perioperative outcomes in patients with this disorder. The primary aim of this retrospective single-center comparative cohort analysis was to estimate the incidence of select perioperative complications in a population of SSc patients. In an exploratory analysis, we analyzed the relationship between SSc and susceptibility to select perioperative complications when treated at a large quaternary-care institution.

Methods: We conducted a single-center retrospective, comparative cohort study to compare perioperative outcomes in a SSc (n=258) and a frequency matched control cohort (n=632). We analyzed for the presence of major composite infection (MCI), major adverse cardiac events (MACE), 30-day readmission, 30-day mortality, in-hospital complications, length of stay and airway management outcomes.

Results: MCI was higher in the SSc compared to the control cohort [adjusted odds ratio (ORadj)=5.02 (95%CI: 2.47-10.20) p<0.001]. Surgical site infection (3.5% vs. 0%, p<0.001), and other infection types (5% vs. 0%, p<0.001) were higher in the SSc cohort. MACE was not significantly different between SSc vs. Control groups [6.2% vs. 7.9%, ORadj=1.33 (95%CI: 0.61-2.91) p=0.48]. Higher rates of limited cervical range of motion (13.6% vs. 3.5%, p<0.001), microstomia (11.5% vs. 1.3%, p<0.001) and preoperative difficult airway designation (8.7% vs. 0.5%, p<0.001) were observed in the SSc cohort. Bag mask ventilation grade was similar between groups (p=0.44). After adjustment, there was no between-group difference in Cormack-Lehane grade 3 and 4 view on direct laryngoscopy in SSc patients [ORadj = 1.86 (95%CI: 0.612 -5.66) p=0.18] but evidence of higher rates of video laryngoscopy [ORadj= 1.87 (95%CI:1.07 - 3.27) p=0.03]. Length of stay [median: 0.2 vs. 0.3 days, p=0.08], 30-day mortality [1.2% vs. 0.6%, ORadj=2.79 (95%CI: 0.50-15.6) p=0.24] and readmission [11.5% vs. 8.1%, ORadj=1.64 (95%CI: 0.96 – 2.82) p=0.07] were not statistically significant.

Conclusions: SSc patients demonstrate mostly similar rates of MACE, 30-day mortality, length of stay intraoperative and airway complications. There is evidence of increased risk of overall 30-day MCI risk and readmission after endoscopic procedures.

Keywords: Systemic sclerosis, airway management, perioperative outcomes, postoperative complications, pulmonary hypertension, postoperative pneumonia

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CARR, Zyad J.. Perioperative Complications in Patients with Systemic Sclerosis: A Comparative Cohort Analysis. Medical Research Archives, [S.l.], v. 11, n. 10, oct. 2023. ISSN 2375-1924. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 23 june 2024. doi:
Research Articles


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