Rehospitalization for Complications is 'Common' Following Radiofrequency Tumor Ablation

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(ChemotherapyAdvisor) – Despite low rates of adverse events during hospitalization for tumor radiofrequency ablation treatments, hospital readmissions within 30 days of discharge for complications such as infection and bleeding are “common,” according to authors of a study presented at the 66th Annual Society of Surgical Oncology (SSO) Cancer Symposium in National Harbor, MD.

“Hospital-based acute care for post-procedure complications or symptoms after RFA (radiofrequency tumor ablation) is common,” reported Rebecca M. Tuttle, MD, and coauthors of Wright State University in Dayton, OH. “Specific patient-level factors are associated with these return encounters and may warrant preoperative identification, optimization or targeted intervention.”

“Adverse events during index hospitalization for radiofrequency ablation (RFA) have been studied and deemed to be low,” Dr. Tuttle and coauthors noted. “However, the need for hospital-based, acute care evaluation and treatment following discharge has not been well described.”

Therefore, Dr. Tuttle and her colleagues studied hospital-based acute care encounters following cancer RFA within 30 days of treatment.

“Using data from the California state ambulatory surgery, in-patient and emergency department databases, we identified all state residents older than 40 years of age who underwent RFA of primary or metastatic hepatic tumors without concurrent liver resection between January 2008 and September 2010,” they reported. “We then determined how frequently this population visited the emergency department or were readmitted to the hospital within 30 days as a rate per 100 discharges.”

A total of 1,094 patients treated at 87 hospitals were identified in the team's database searches. Most patients “underwent radiofrequency ablation for primary malignancy (52.7%) by an open (21.9%), percutaneous (46.5%), or laparoscopic (25.5%) approach.”

Hospital readmissions, emergency room visits, and overall hospital-based acute care visit rates per 100 discharges were 11.1, 8.8, and 19.8, respectively, the coauthors reported.

“Most encounters occurred within the first 7 days of discharge, for complications (infections or bleeding) or abdominal pain,” they noted.

Patient history of complicated diabetes and coagulopathy were associated with return visits to the hospital within 30 days of discharge, they noted (odds ratio [OR], 2.36; 95% CI: 1.06-5.28 and OR, 2.0; 95% CI: 1.23-3.24, respectively). Fluid and electrolyte disorders, drug abuse, and depression were also associated with return visits (OR, 1.75 [95% CI: 1.18-2.59], 2.28 [1.00-5.23], and 2.24 [1.36-3.69], respectively).

The abstract (#36) for this presentation is available at the 66th Annual SSO Cancer Symposium's website.

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