Readmissions after major cancer surgery among older adults

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Surgery (United States)








© 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Background Decreasing readmissions has become a focus of emerging efforts to improve the quality and affordability of health care. However, little is known about reasons for readmissions after major cancer surgery in the expanding elderly population (65 years) who are also at increased risk of adverse operative events. We sought to identify (1) the extent to which older age impacts readmissions and (2) factors predictive of 30- and 90-day readmissions after major cancer surgery among older adults. Methods We identified 2,797 older adults who underwent 1 of 7 types of major thoracic or abdominopelvic cancer surgery within a large multihospital system from 2003 to 2012. Multivariate logistic regression analyses were conducted to identify predictors of 30- and 90-day readmission controlling for covariates. Results Overall 30- and 90-day readmission rates were 16% and 24% with the majority of readmissions occurring within 15-days of discharge. Principal diagnoses of 30-day readmissions included gastrointestinal, pulmonary, and infections complications. The 30-day readmissions were associated with >2 comorbid conditions and 2 postoperative complications. Readmissions varied significantly according to cancer surgery type and across treating hospitals. Readmissions did not vary by increasing age. Factors associated with 90-day readmission were comparable to those observed at 30 days. Conclusion In this large, multihospital study of older adults, multiple morbidities, procedure type, greater number of complications, and the treating hospital predicted 30- and 90-day readmissions. These findings point toward the potential impact of hospital-level factors behind readmission. Our results also heighten the importance of assessing the influence of readmission on other important cancer care metrics, namely, patient-reported outcomes and the completion of adjuvant systemic therapies.

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