Hospitalization metrics associated with hospital-level variation in inferior vena cava filter utilization for patients with venous thromboembolism in the United States: Implications for quality of care

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Variation in the use of inferior vena cava filters (IVCFs) across hospitals has been observed, suggesting differences in quality of care. Hospitalization metrics associated with venous thromboembolism (VTE) patients have not been compared based on IVCF utilization rates using a national sample. We conducted a descriptive retrospective study using the Nationwide Readmissions Database (NRD) to delineate the variability of hospitalization metrics across the hospital quartiles of IVCF utilization for VTE patients. The NRD included all-payer administrative inpatient records drawn from 22 states. Adult (≥ 18 years) patients with VTE hospitalizations with or without IVCF were identified from January 1, 2013 through December 31, 2014 and hospitals were divided into quartiles based on the IVCF utilization rate as a proportion of VTE patients. Primary outcome measures were observed rates of in-hospital mortality, 30-day all-cause readmissions and VTE-related readmissions, cost, and length of stay. Patient case-mix characteristics and hospital-level factors by hospital quartiles of IVCF utilization rates, were compared. Overall, 12.29% of VTE patients had IVCF placement, with IVCF utilization ranging from 0% to 46.84%. The highest quartile had fewer pulmonary embolism patients relative to deep vein thrombosis patients, and older patient ages were present in higher quartiles. The highest quartile of hospitals placing IVCFs were more often private, for-profit, and non-teaching. Patient and hospital characteristics and hospitalization metrics varied by IVCF utilization rates, but hospitalization outcomes for non-IVCF patients varied most between quartiles. Future work investigating the implications of IVCF utilization rates as a measure of quality of care for VTE patients is needed.

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