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Elderly, Ambulatory Surgery Patients More Likely to Be Readmitted

Study calls for better care transitions after outpatient surgery

Patients 65 years of age and older who have ambulatory surgery are more likely to be readmitted to the hospital within 30 days than younger patients, regardless of their health before surgery, according to a new study from Northwestern Medicine published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. 

Current health conditions, such as chronic pulmonary disease and diabetes mellitus, as well as patient history, were also associated with an increased likelihood of unanticipated readmissions, but not to the same degree as advanced age.

In a retrospective investigation, the authors identified all individuals with “outpatient” recorded as their status in the 2012 National Surgical Quality Improvement Project database. The primary outcome of interest was all-cause hospital admission in the 30-day period after surgery.

The final analysis included 53,667 ambulatory surgical cases. A total of 1,370 (2.5%) hospital readmissions occurred among the cases evaluated. After adjusting for potential confounders, the authors found that age (less than 70 years of age vs. 70 years of age or older) was independently associated with readmission (odds ratio, 1.54). Moreover, an analysis of the cases without postoperative morbidity identified age (less than 60 years of age vs. 60 years of age or older) as an important decision point leading to a greater likelihood of readmission (P < 0.001) within 30 days after ambulatory surgery.

The authors concluded that interventions to improve transitions of care for older adults after ambulatory surgery are needed.

Sources: FierceHealthcare; August 11, 2015; and JAGS; July 22, 2015.

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