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General surgeons identify postoperative complications posing strongest readmission risk
Date:8/27/2012

Chicago(August 28, 2012) Postoperative complications are the most significant independent risk factor leading to 30-day hospital readmissions among general surgery patients, according to a new exploratory study published in the September issue of the Journal of the American College of Surgeons.

"Hospital readmissions are the tip of the iceberg, but when you dig deeper, it is the postoperative complications that drive readmissions among general surgical patients," said senior study author John F. Sweeney, MD, FACS, chief, division of general and gastrointestinal surgery at Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta. He also is director of the department of surgery's clinical quality and patient safety program. Dr. Sweeney and his coauthors note that, "Better understanding the predictors of readmission for general surgery patients will allow hospitals to develop programs to decrease readmission rates."

Researchers conducting this retrospective study analyzed patient records from hospitals that were enrolled in the American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (ACS NSQIP), which is the leading nationally validated, risk-adjusted, outcomes-based program to measure and improve the quality of care in private sector hospitals. Data from Emory University Hospital was merged with ACS NSQIP data to identify unplanned readmissions.

Researchers reviewed the records of 1,442 general surgery patients who were operated on between 2009 and 2011. Of them, 163 patients, or 11.3 percent, were readmitted to the hospital within 30 days of discharge. The researchers analyzed type of surgical procedure, postoperative complications, ICD-9 coding data, comorbidities, and patient demographics to identify common risk factors associated with readmissions.

"Surgical patients are different from medical patients because the surgical procedure, in and of itself, places them at risk for readmission to the hospital,
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Contact: Sally Garneski
Pressinquiry@facs.org
312-202-5409
American College of Surgeons
Source:Eurekalert

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