Repeated Critical Illness and Unplanned Readmissions Within 1 Year to PICUs*

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Abstract

Objectives:

To determine the occurrence rate of unplanned readmissions to PICUs within 1 year and examine risk factors associated with repeated readmission.

Design:

Retrospective cohort analysis.

Setting:

Seventy-six North American PICUs that participated in the Virtual Pediatric Systems, LLC (VPS, LLC, Los Angeles, CA).

Patients:

Ninety-three thousand three hundred seventy-nine PICU patients discharged between 2009 and 2010.

Interventions:

None.

Measurements and Main Results:

Index admissions and unplanned readmissions were characterized and their outcomes compared. Time-to-event analyses were performed to examine factors associated with readmission within 1 year. Eleven percent (10,233) of patients had 15,625 unplanned readmissions within 1 year to the same PICU; 3.4% had two or more readmissions. Readmissions had significantly higher PICU mortality and longer PICU length of stay, compared with index admissions (4.0% vs 2.5% and 2.5 vs 1.6 d; all p < 0.001). Median time to readmission was 30 days for all readmissions, 3.5 days for readmissions during the same hospitalization, and 66 days for different hospitalizations. Having more complex chronic conditions was associated with earlier readmission (adjusted hazard ratio, 2.9 for one complex chronic condition; hazard ratio, 4.8 for two complex chronic conditions; hazard ratio, 9.6 for three or more complex chronic conditions; all p < 0.001 compared no complex chronic condition). Most specific complex chronic condition conferred a greater risk of readmission, and some had considerably higher risk than others.

Conclusions:

Unplanned readmissions occurred in a sizable minority of PICU patients. Patients with complex chronic conditions and particular conditions were at much higher risk for readmission.

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