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Factors Associated with Differential Readmission Diagnoses Following Acute Exacerbations of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease.

  • Author(s): Buhr, Russell G
  • Jackson, Nicholas J
  • Dubinett, Steven M
  • Kominski, Gerald F
  • Mangione, Carol M
  • Ong, Michael K
  • et al.

BACKGROUND:Readmissions after exacerbations of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are penalized under the Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program (HRRP). Understanding attributable diagnoses at readmission would improve readmission reduction strategies. OBJECTIVES:Determine factors that portend 30-day readmissions attributable to COPD versus non-COPD diagnoses among patients discharged following COPD exacerbations. DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS:We analyzed COPD discharges in the Nationwide Readmissions Database from 2010 to 2016 using inclusion and readmission definitions in HRRP. MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES:We evaluated readmission odds for COPD versus non-COPD returns using a multilevel, multinomial logistic regression model. Patient-level covariates included age, sex, community characteristics, payer, discharge disposition, and Elixhauser Comorbidity Index. Hospital-level covariates included hospital ownership, teaching status, volume of annual discharges, and proportion of Medicaid patients. RESULTS:Of 1,622,983 (a weighted effective sample of 3,743,164) eligible COPD hospitalizations, 17.25% were readmitted within 30 days (7.69% for COPD and 9.56% for other diagnoses). Sepsis, heart failure, and respiratory infections were the most common non-COPD return diagnoses. Patients readmitted for COPD were younger with fewer comorbidities than patients readmitted for non-COPD. COPD returns were more prevalent the first two days after discharge than non-COPD returns. Comorbidity was a stronger driver for non-COPD (odds ratio [OR] 1.19) than COPD (OR 1.04) readmissions. CONCLUSION:Thirty-day readmissions following COPD exacerbations are common, and 55% of them are attributable to non-COPD diagnoses at the time of return. Higher burden of comorbidity is observed among non-COPD than COPD rehospitalizations. Readmission reduction efforts should focus intensively on factors beyond COPD disease management to reduce readmissions considerably by aggressively attempting to mitigate comorbid conditions.

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