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Study Finds Nearly 1 in 5 Postsurgical Hospital Readmissions Potentially Preventable

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Nearly 1 in 5 postsurgical hospital readmissions are potentially preventable, and failure to prevent them costs the healthcare system almost $300 million annually, according to a retrospective cohort study of data from the National Readmissions Database (NRD), writes Medscape Medical News.

The researchers used a weighted sample of 1,937,354 patients (54.1% female; mean age, 66.1 years) from the 2017 NRD, the largest readmissions database in the United States. They analyzed hospital readmissions of patients within 30 and 90 days of their undergoing any of nine surgeries.

Potentially preventable readmissions (PPRs) were defined as readmissions for superficial surgical site infections, acute kidney injury, aspiration pneumonitis, or any of the conditions that the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality defines as being ambulatory care–sensitive.

The analysis showed that a total of 164,755 patients (8.5%) experienced a readmission within 90 days of their surgery; 29,321 (17.8%) of those readmissions were deemed potentially preventable.

The most common reasons for PPRs were exacerbation of congestive heart failure (CHF) (34.6%), pneumonia (12.0%), and acute kidney injury (22.5%). Adults with public health insurance had more than twice the odds of PPR compared with those with private insurance (adjusted odds ratio [aOR], 2.09; 95% CI, 1.94 – 2.25).

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