Post-surgery complications increase readmission rates

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A complication after surgery can increase the likelihood of hospital readmission to 78 percent from just 5 percent if there are no complications, according to a study from the University of Rochester School of Medicine in Rochester, NY.

Researchers analyzed data from over 142,000 patients who underwent non-cardiac surgery, and found a link between complications after surgery and 30-day unplanned hospital readmissions, even after accounting for other factors. The study recommends doctors use the American College of Surgeon’s Surgical Risk Calculator, an online tool, to help identify patients who are a high risk for developing complications following surgery.

"If a patient’s predicted risk of complications is high, which we’ve shown puts them at greater risk of readmission, a physician might decide to move the patient to the intensive care unit or a step-down unit after surgery, as opposed to a regular hospital unit that manages less sick patients,” lead study author Laurent G. Glance, M.D., was quoted as saying. “This information could also help with staffing. Instead of taking care of eight patients, a nurse might be assigned to monitor just two or three high-risk patients in an effort to prevent complications that could lead to more hospitalizations down the road.”

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