Postoperative complications predict 30-day readmission in geriatric general surgery patients

James D. Dieterich, Celia M. Divino

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


The Affordable Care Act has placed unplanned patient readmissions under more scrutiny than ever. Geriatric patients, in particular, suffer a disproportionate amount of complications from any kind of hospitalization, including readmissions. This study seeks to identify risk factors in this population that predispose them to an unplanned readmission within 30 days after index surgery. The National Surgical Quality Improvement Program database was used to select patients 65 years and older, who underwent general surgery procedures in 2012. Patient demographics, comorbidities, complications, and readmissions were analyzed. A Cox regression survivorship model was used for multivariate analysis. A total of 7712 patients were reviewed; 617 patients (8.0%) had an unplanned readmission within 30 days of their operation. Cox regression revealed five different independent predictors of unplanned readmission within 30 days. They are age [P = 0.009, hazard ratio (HR) = 1.016, 95% confidence interval (CI) 5 1.01-1.03], American Society of Anesthesiologists Class >2 (P = 0.037, HR = 1.22, CI = 1.024-1.475), operation time (minutes) (P = 0.001, HR = 1.001, CI = 1.00-1.002), any complication (P = 0.03, HR = 1.449, CI = 1.33-1.852), and deep vein thrombosis (P = 0.03, HR = 1.87, CI = 1.31-3.85). Using Cox regression to adjust for patient length of stay, age, American Society of Anesthesiologists class, any complication, operation time, and venous thromboembolism all independently increased the rate of unplanned readmissions. Patients who suffer any complication or a venous thromboembolism postoperatively are at a particularly high risk of readmission. These patients should be targeted for increased inpatient monitoring and included in preventable readmission programs after discharge.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)365-370
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Surgeon
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2017


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