The high burden of readmissions after major cancer surgery leads to poorer patient outcomes and higher costs, according to a recent study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.
Karyn B. Stitzenberg, MD, and fellow researchers at the University of North Carolina examined SEER-Medicare patient data from 2001 to 2007 of patients with cancer of the bladder, pancreas, or esophagus in. They calculated readmission rates using Kaplan-Meier functions. Only patients who underwent extirpative surgery were included.
Based on tumor type, readmission ranged from 13 to 29 percent for 30-day rates and 23 to 43 percent for 90-day rates. The researchers found that long-term survival as well as costs of care were worse among patients who were readmitted.
Predictors of readmission included discharge to somewhere other than home, longer length of stay, comorbidities , and higher stage of diagnosis. Longer travel distance to hospital was also a factor, with those patients more likely to be readmitted to a hospital other than the index hospital.
“Interventions targeted at higher risk individuals could potentially decrease the population burden of readmissions after major cancer surgery,” the authors concluded.
The authors hypothesize that longer travel distances are associated with higher rates of postoperative readmission and poorer outcomes. The burden of readmissions after major cancer surgery is high, resulting in substantially poorer patient outcomes and higher costs. Risk of readmission was most strongly associated with length of stay and discharge destination.