Conference Coverage

Length of stay, complications predict readmission for cirrhosis patients



– Patients with cirrhosis have a higher risk of hospital readmission if their length of stay is less than 4 days, if they have cirrhosis-related complications, and if they are discharged to an extended-care facility or to home health care, according to a recent presentation at the annual meeting of the American College of Gastroenterology.

Chandraprakash Umapathy, MD, MS, from the University of California, San Francisco, Fresno Jeff Craven/MDedge News

Dr. Chandraprakash Umapathy

“The presence of cirrhosis-related complications is very strongly associated with readmissions,” Chandraprakash Umapathy, MD, MS, from the University of California, San Francisco, Fresno, said during his presentation. “Quality improvement efforts should focus on optimizing the management of complications of cirrhosis in the outpatient setting to reduce readmissions.”

In a retrospective cohort study, Dr. Umapathy and colleagues identified 230,036 patients from the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project National Readmission Database for 2014 who had been discharged with a diagnosis of cirrhosis; of these patients, there were 185,737 index cases after excluding readmissions. Included patients had a mean age of 60.2 years and mean length of stay of 6.4 days, with 46% of patients having a length of stay longer than 4 days and mean total charges of $56,519. With regard to cirrhosis, 55% of patients displayed cirrhosis complications and 6.7% had more than three cirrhosis-related complications; the most common complication was ascites, in 32% of patients.

Overall, 11.09% of patients were readmitted at 30 days and 18.74% of patients were readmitted at 90 days, Dr. Umapathy said. Patients were more likely to be readmitted at 30 days if they were originally admitted on a weekend (adjusted prevalence ratio, 1.06; P = .001); into a medium (1.09; P = .009) or large (1.11; P less than .001) hospital; were admitted at a metropolitan teaching hospital (1.07; P less than .001); were insured by Medicaid (1.07; P less than .001); or were transferred to an extended care (1.51; P less than .001) facility or discharged to home health care (1.43; P less than .001).

Compared with patients who were not readmitted at 30 days, patients with 30-day readmission had a higher rate of alcoholic liver disease (43% vs. 46%; P less than .001), hepatitis C (28% vs. 32%; P less than .001), ascites (31% vs. 43%; P less than .001), hepatic encephalopathy (15% vs. 22%; P less than .001), hepatorenal syndrome (2.3% vs. 4.9%; P less than .001), hepatocellular cancer (5.1% vs. 5.7%; P = .001), presence of any cirrhosis complications (54% vs. 65%; P less than .001), and presence of more than three cirrhosis-related complications (6.3% vs. 10%; P less than .001). When adjusted in a multivariate analysis, association with readmission at 30 days for patients with cirrhosis-related complications such as ascites (1.42; P less than .001), hepatic encephalopathy (1.44; P less than .001), and hepatorenal syndrome (1.34; P less than .001) remained, Dr. Umapathy noted.

Length of stay longer than 4 days (0.84; P less than .001) and variceal hemorrhage (0.74; P = .002) were associated with reduced risk of readmissions at 30 days. “Focus on length of stay may result in patients being discharged prematurely, leading to higher early readmission,” Dr. Umapathy said.

Dr. Umapathy reports no relevant conflicts of interest.

SOURCE: Umapathy C et al. ACG 2018, Presentation 60

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