Compared to other perioperative complications, failure to rescue (i.e., death after suffering a complication) is highest after perioperative myocardial infarction (a myocardial infarction that occurs intraoperatively or within 30 days after surgery). The purpose of this study was to identify patient and surgical risk factors for failure to rescue in patients who have had a perioperative myocardial infarction.


Individuals who experienced a perioperative myocardial infarction after noncardiac surgery between 2012 and 2016 were identified from the American College of Surgeons (Chicago, Illinois) National Surgical Quality Improvement Program database. Multivariable logistic regression was used to identify risk factors for failure to rescue. Subgroup and sensitivity analyses evaluated the robustness of primary findings.


The authors identified 1,307,884 individuals who had intermediate to high-risk noncardiac surgery. A total of 8,923 (0.68%) individuals had a perioperative myocardial infarction, of which 1,726 (19.3%) experienced failure to rescue. Strongest associations (adjusted odds ratio greater than 1.5) were age 85 yr or older (2.52 [95% CI, 2.05 to 3.09] vs. age younger than 65 yr), underweight body mass index (1.53 [95% CI, 1.17 to 2.01] vs. normal body mass index), American Society of Anesthesiologists class IV (1.76 [95% CI, 1.33 to 2.31] vs. class I or II) and class V (3.48 [95% CI, 2.20 to 5.48] vs. class I or II), and presence of: ascites (1.81 [95% CI, 1.15 to 2.87]), disseminated cancer (1.54 [95% CI, 1.18 to 2.00]), systemic inflammatory response syndrome (1.55 [95% CI, 1.26 to 1.90]), sepsis (1.75 [95% CI, 1.39 to 2.20]), septic shock (1.79 [95% CI, 1.34 to 2.37]), and dyspnea at rest (1.94 [95% CI, 1.32 to 2.86]). Patients who had emergency surgery, high-risk procedures, and postoperative complications were at higher risk of failure to rescue.


Routinely identified patient and surgical factors predict risk of failure to rescue after perioperative myocardial infarction.

Editor’s Perspective
What We Already Know about This Topic
  • Patients experiencing perioperative myocardial infarction are at high risk for mortality

  • Which patients are at highest risk of failure to rescue (death after a complication)

What This Article Tells Us That Is New
  • In a multinational cohort of 8,923 patients experiencing perioperative myocardial infarction after intermediate to high-risk noncardiac surgery, one in five died within 30 days

  • Patients age 85 yr or older, and those with advanced systemic disease, underweight body mass index, ascites, disseminated cancer, sepsis, or dyspnea at rest were at highest risk

You do not currently have access to this content.