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Ann Thorac Surg. 2001 Dec;72(6):1855-9; discussion 1859-60.

Hospital readmission after pulmonary resection: prevalence, patterns, and predisposing characteristics.

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Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery, The Oregon Clinic, Portland 97213, USA.



Our objective was to define the prevalence, patterns, and predisposing characteristics for hospital readmission after pulmonary resection.


Five years of pulmonary resections, excluding lung biopsies, were analyzed from a prospective, computerized database. Readmission was defined as inpatient or emergency department admission within 90 days of operation. Search of 1,173,912 admissions to the Providence Health System in Oregon identified readmissions. Readmission analysis excluded operative deaths.


A total of 374 patients underwent pulmonary resections, of whom 8 died (2.1%). Of 366 patients discharged, 69 (18.9%) were readmitted a total of 113 times: 42 had only one readmission, 16 had two readmissions, 7 had three readmissions, 2 had four readmissions, and 2 had five readmissions. Slightly more than half (51%) were readmitted as inpatients. Causes of the 113 readmissions included pulmonary (27%), postoperative infection (14%), cardiac (7%), and other (16%). Mean time to readmission was 32.5 +/- 24.6 days. Inpatient readmission mean length of stay was 4.9 +/- 3.4 days. Readmission to hospitals other than the hospital of the operation was as follows: first readmission, 15.9%; second readmission, 14.8%; third readmission, 36.3%; fourth readmission, 25%; fifth readmission, 0%. Analysis revealed only pneumonectomy as a risk for readmission. Twelve of 33 (36%) pneumonectomies were readmitted (p = 0.005). Of the 297 patients discharged after pulmonary resection and not requiring readmission, 12 (4%) died over the study interval, whereas 8 of 69 patients (11.6%) requiring readmission died.


Readmission after pulmonary resection is frequent and multiple readmissions are common. Causes are predominately pulmonary diagnoses and infections related to the operation. Pneumonectomy is a risk for readmission. An important portion of readmissions occurs outside the hospital of operation. The population requiring readmission after successfully undergoing pulmonary resection is at increased risk of subsequent mortality.

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