Readmission after discharge from the hospital is an undesirable outcome. In an attempt to prevent unplanned readmissions after abdominal or perineal colon resection, we proposed to identify risk factors associated with return to the hospital.METHODS:
Study participants consisted of 249 patients who were operated on from July 1, 1996, to March 30, 1998. All patients who were readmitted within 90 days of discharge from the hospital after surgery were evaluated for the study. A retrospective review of charts was performed to assess whether readmission within 90 days was a direct consequence of the recent operation (unplanned related readmission). These patients were compared with a control group consisting of patients who were never readmitted or who were readmitted with an unrelated problem.RESULTS:
Of the 249 patients, 59 (24 percent) were readmitted within 90 days of discharge from the hospital. Twenty-two (9 percent) were unplanned related readmissions. Ten patients were readmitted with unrelated emergencies, and 27 patients were readmitted electively. In the unplanned related group, there was no correlation between age, gender, admission diagnosis, activity status, or postoperative length of stay and the likelihood of readmission. Patients with multiple chronic medical problems or those who developed postoperative complications did not have a higher readmission rate. Patients with ulcerative colitis or those who underwent abdominoperineal resection or total/subtotal colectomy had a higher incidence of readmissions, although the difference was not significant. The mean interval between discharge from the hospital and readmission with a related complication was 19 days. Small-bowel obstruction was the most common reason for readmission, and all cases resolved with conservative management. Mean length of stay during all readmissions was 8 days.CONCLUSION:
The incidence of unplanned related readmissions 90 days after abdominal or perineal colon resection is 9 percent, and these readmissions could not be predicted from the postoperative course. Because 82 percent of unplanned readmissions occurred within 30 days, this time frame is suitable for computerized comparative analysis.