Increasing Readmission Rates for Hemorrhage after Tonsil Surgery: A Longitudinal (26 Years) National Study

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Abstract

Objective

To investigate the readmission rates due to postoperative hemorrhage in relation to tonsil surgery clinical practice in a national population.

Study Design

Retrospective longitudinal population-based cohort study.

Setting

Based on register data from the Swedish National Patient Register (NPR).

Subjects and Methods

All benign tonsil operations (256 053) performed in Sweden from 1987 to 2013 were identified through a search in the NPR. For all identified cases, data on gender, age, date of surgery, indication, type of surgery, level of care, length of stay (LOS) for inpatient surgery, readmission and reoperation because of postoperative bleeding (within 31 days) were collected.

Results

Overall frequency of readmission for hemorrhage was 2.61%, and the reoperation rate for hemostasis was 0.84%. The longitudinal analysis showed an increase from 1% (1987) to 5% (2013) in readmissions caused by hemorrhage. Tonsillectomies, surgery performed for infectious disease, and surgery on adult patients (age >18 years) showed readmission rates approaching 10% (2013). Male gender, increasing age, tonsillectomy, infectious indication, and recent year of surgery were identified as risk factors for readmission and reoperation due to hemorrhage. An increasing share of patients readmitted for hemorrhage underwent reoperation for hemostasis: 18% (1987) versus 43% (2013).

Conclusion

Readmissions for hemorrhage have increased by a factor of 5 in Sweden from 1987 to 2013. The design of the study and the data in NPR do not allow determination of the true reasons behind the alarming results.

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