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HPB (Oxford). 2013 Sep;15(9):703-8. doi: 10.1111/hpb.12036. Epub 2013 Mar 12.

Readmission following pancreatectomy: what can be improved?

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Department of Surgery, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, MA 02215, USA.



Readmissions after pancreatectomy, largely for the management of complications, may also occur as a result of failure to thrive or for diagnostic endeavours. Potential mechanisms to reduce readmission rates may be elucidated by assessing the adequacy of the initial disposition and the real necessity for readmission.


Using previously identified categories of readmission following pancreatectomy, details of reasons for and results of readmissions were scrutinized using a root cause analysis approach.


Of 658 patients subjected to pancreatectomy between 2001 and 2010, 121 (18%) were readmitted within 30 days. The clinical course in 30% of readmitted patients was found to deviate from the pathway assumed on the initial admission. Patients were readmitted at a median of 9 days (range: 1-30 days) after initial discharge and had a median readmission length of stay of 7 days (mode = 4). Postoperative complications accounted for most readmissions (n = 77, 64%); 17 patients (14%) were readmitted for failure to thrive and 16 (13%) for diagnostics. Root cause analysis detailed subtextual reasons for readmission, including, for example, the initiation of new medications that could potentially have been ordered in an outpatient setting.


More than one quarter of readmissions after pancreatectomy occurred in the setting of failure to thrive or for diagnostic evaluation alone. Root cause analysis revealed potentially avoidable readmissions. The development of a system for stratifying patients at risk for readmission or the failure of the initial disposition, along with an alternative means of efficiently evaluating patients in an outpatient setting, could limit unnecessary readmissions and resource utilization.

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