Post-surgery Complications Indicate Likelihood of Hospital Readmission

For patients receiving non-cardiac surgery, a study published in JAMA Surgery discovered that patients who experienced postoperative complications were more likely to be readmitted within 30 days.

For patients receiving non-cardiac surgery, a study published in JAMA Surgery discovered that patients who experienced postoperative complications were more likely to be readmitted within 30 days. Researchers also determined that postoperative patients identified as “high risk” under the American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (ACS NSQIP) are significantly more likely to be readmitted.

In a retrospective study, researchers at the University of Rochester Medical Center analyzed ACS NSQIP registry data of 142,232 patients that received non-cardiac surgery and were unexpectedly readmitted within a 30-day period.

The investigators found an existing correlation between postoperative complications. Of the 142,232 patients analyzed,“6.8% had 30-day readmissions” with “30-day readmissions was 78.3% for patients with any post-discharge complication,” compared to “12.3% for patients with only in-hospital complications and 4.8% for patients without any complications.”

Furthermore, for patients defined as “very high risk” under ACS NSQIP, researchers found they “had 10-fold higher odds of readmission compared with patients at very low risk for complications” compared to “high and moderate risk of complications had 7- and 4-fold higher odds of readmission, respectively.”

Their study is the first large-scale analysis of the correlation between post-surgery complication and re-hospitalization, according to a statement from the University of Rochester.

In light of their findings, investigators recommended implementing a system that will pinpoint high risk surgery patients. The American College of Surgeon’s Surgical Risk Calculator is a currently available online tool that allows healthcare professionals to input information on the patient such as age, body mass index, and smoking status and get an estimate of the patient’s risk of post-surgery complications.

Laurent G. Glance, MD, lead author of the study, said their research provides insight on hospital staffing in addition to special care that should be administered to at-risk patients. Glance also recommended “a patient’s likelihood of complications could be added to his or her electronic medical record and used before, during, and following surgery to help guide clinical decision making.”