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

      Abstract

      Introduction

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

      Methods

      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.

      Results

      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).

      Conclusion

      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.

      Key words

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      2. Agency for Healthcare RQ. Key themes and highlights from the National Healthcare Quality Report. Rockville, MD, US Department of Health and Human Services, 2007; http://www.ahrq.gov/qual/nhqr06/highlights/nhrq06high.html.

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