5 notes on unplanned readmissions following outpatient hand, elbow surgery

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A new study published in the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery examines unplanned readmissions after outpatient hand and elbow surgery.

The study authors examined data from the American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program for patients who underwent outpatient hand or elbow surgery between 2012 and 2013. There were 13,106 patients included in the study.

The researchers found:

1. Slightly more than 1 percent of the patients had unplanned readmissions within 30 days of surgery. However, one-third of the readmissions were likely unrelated to the procedure.

2. Nearly 20 percent of the readmissions were for postoperative infections; another 4.7 percent were for pain. Four percent of the readmission were for thromboembolic events and 3 percent were for pulmonary complications.

3. The independent predictors of readmissions were:

• Older age, 70 to 84 years old
• Smoking
• Lower hematocrit
• Renal dialysis
• Elbow surgery patients

4. The researchers concluded the prevalence of unplanned readmissions is low.

5. Modifiable factors that contribute to readmission risk are smoking and anemia.

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