Associations Between the Severity of Influenza Seasons and Mortality and Readmission Risks After Elective Surgical Aortic Valve Replacement and Coronary Artery Bypass Graft Surgery in Older Adults

JAMA Netw Open. 2020 Dec 1;3(12):e2031078

Patients recovering from a major operation are increasingly susceptible to respiratory complications, but whether undergoing operations during more severe influenza seasons is associated with a higher risk of respiratory complications remains unknown. Because elective procedures may be postponed to mitigate the potential risk, we evaluated associations between the severity of influenza seasons and the risks of mortality and hospital readmissions after elective coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) and surgical aortic valve replacement (SAVR).

Our findings showed that, among older adults who underwent elective coronary and aortic valve operations during influenza seasons, there were no consistent associations between the severity of the influenza season and the risk of mortality or readmission. For CABG procedures, increasing seasonal severity may be associated with a slightly higher risk of 30-day mortality. Limitations of this study include claims-based data that limited granularity used in characterizing the severity of pneumonia and operative risks. Geographic variation in the severity of influenza seasons was not accounted for. Our large sample suggests that it is safe to perform elective major operations regardless of the severity of influenza seasons.