Assessing Risk Factors for Hospital-Based, Acute Care Within Thirty Days of Craniosynostosis Surgery Using the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project

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While in-hospital outcomes and long-term results of craniosynostosis surgery have been described, no large studies have reported on postoperative readmission and emergency department (ED) visits. The authors conducted this study to describe the incidence, associated diagnoses, and risk factors for these encounters within 30 days of craniosynostosis surgery.

Using 4 state-level databases, the authors conducted a retrospective cohort study of patients <3 years of age who underwent surgery for craniosynostosis. The primary outcome was any hospital based, acute care (HBAC; ED visit or hospital readmission) within 30 days of discharge. Multivariate logistic regression modeling was used to identify factors associated with this outcome.

The final sample included 1120 patients. On average, patients were ages 4.6 months with the majority being male (67.3%) and having Medicaid (52%) or private (48.0%) insurance. Ninety-nine patients (8.8%) had at least 1 HBAC encounter within 30 days and 13 patients (1.2%) had 2 or more. The majority of encounters were managed in the ED without hospital admission (56.6%). In univariate analysis, age, race, insurance status, and initial length of stay significantly differed between the HBAC and non-HBAC groups. In multivariate analysis, only African-American race (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] = 5.98 [1.49–23.94]) and Hispanic ethnicity (AOR = 5.31 [1.88–14.97]) were associated with more frequent HBAC encounters.

Nearly 10% of patients with craniosynostosis require HBAC postoperatively with ED visits accounting for the majority of these encounters. Race is independently associated with HBAC, the cause of which is unknown and will be the focus of future research.

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