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Infection Most Common Readmission Reason Post-Surgery

Knowing why readmissions happen is first step in reducing them, researcher says

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 4, 2015 (HealthDay News) — Infections are the most likely reason people end up back in the hospital after surgery, a new study finds. The report was published in the Feb. 3 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The researchers looked at readmission rates and reasons for all operations in 346 U.S. hospitals. They also looked in greater detail at six commonly performed operations that are often included in public reporting and as measures in pay-for-performance programs. These surgeries included: bariatric procedures; colectomy or proctectomy; hysterectomy; total hip or knee replacement; ventral hernia repair; and lower extremity vascular bypass. Of 498,875 operations studied, 5.7 percent of the patients were readmitted for surgical complications within a month after their surgery.

The researchers found that the rate of readmission for any complication after surgery ranged from 3.8 percent after hysterectomy to 14.9 percent after lower extremity vascular bypass. Overall, the most common reason for readmission was infection at the site of the surgery, ranging from 11.4 percent after bariatric surgery to 36.4 percent after lower extremity vascular bypass. The second most common reason for readmission overall was ileus after colectomy, proctectomy, ventral hernia repair, and hysterectomy. However, these intestinal complications were the most common reason for readmission after weight-loss surgery.

Other causes for readmission included dehydration or nutritional deficiency, bleeding, and venous thromboembolism, according to the researchers. Only 2.3 percent of patients were readmitted for the same problem they experienced during their first hospitalization. “Readmissions after surgery are not due to mismanagement or poor care. They are related to well-known and well-accepted complications after surgery,” lead researcher Karl Bilimoria, M.D., an assistant professor of surgery at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, told HealthDay.

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