Hospital readmission after management of appendicitis at freestanding children's hospitals: contemporary trends and financial implications



      The purpose of this study was to characterize epidemiologic trends and cost implications of hospital readmission after treatment of pediatric appendicitis.


      We conducted a 5-year retrospective cohort analysis of 30-day readmission rates for 52,054 patients admitted with appendicitis at 38 children's hospitals participating in the Pediatric Health Information System database. Patients were categorized as “uncomplicated” (postoperative length of stay [LOS] ≤2 days) or “complicated” (LOS ≥3 days and ≥4 consecutive days of antibiotics) and analyzed for demographic data, treatment received during the index admission, readmission rates, and excess LOS and hospital-related costs attributable to readmission encounters.


      The aggregate 30-day readmission rate was 8.7%, and this varied significantly by disease severity and management approach (uncomplicated appendectomy, 5.6%; complicated appendectomy, 12.8%; drainage, 22.6%; antibiotics only, 24.6%; P < .0001). The median hospital cost per case attributable to readmission was $3401 (reflecting a 44% relative increase in cumulative treatment-related cost), and this varied significantly by disease severity and management approach (uncomplicated appendectomy, $1946 [31% relative increase]; complicated appendectomy, $6524 [53% increase]; drainage, $6827 [48% increase]; antibiotics only, $5835 [58% increase]; P < .0001).


      In freestanding children's hospitals, readmission after treatment of pediatric appendicitis is a relatively common and costly occurrence. Collaborative efforts are needed to characterize patient, treatment, and hospital-related risk factors as a basis for developing preventative strategies.

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