Unplanned readmissions following outpatient hand and elbow surgery

Mohamed Noureldin, Elizabeth B Habermann, Daniel S. Ubl, Sanjeev Kakar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Background: Unplanned readmission following surgery is a quality metric that helps surgeons assess initiatives targeted at improving patient care. We utilized the American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (ACS-NSQIP) database to determine the rates, causes, and predictors of unplanned 30-day readmissions after outpatient elective hand and elbow surgery. Methods: The ACS-NSQIP database was queried using hand-and-elbow-specific Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) codes to retrospectively identify patients who had undergone outpatient hand or elbow surgery in 2012 and 2013. Patients who required an unplanned readmission to the hospital within 30 days were compared with those who were not readmitted. Preoperative patient characteristics, intraoperative variables, complications, and mortality were compared between the cohorts. Cox proportional hazard models were used to determine independent associations with 30-day unplanned readmission. Results: A total of 14,106 outpatient hand or elbow surgery procedures were identified between 2012 and 2013, and 169 (1.2%) of them were followed by an unplanned readmission. The leading causes of readmission included postoperative infections (19.5%), pain (4.7%), thromboembolic events (4.1%), and pulmonary complications (3.0%). The causes of approximately 1/3 of the readmissions were missing from the database, and these readmissions were likely unrelated to the principal procedure. Independent predictors of readmission included an age of 70 to 84 years (hazard ratio [HR] = 2.83, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.67 to 4.78), smoking (HR = 2.23, 95% CI = 1.57 to 3.18), a lower hematocrit (HR = 2.19, 95% CI = 1.38 to 3.46), renal dialysis (HR = 3.32, 95% CI = 1.60 to 6.91), and an elbow procedure (with or without a hand procedure) (HR = 2.19, 95% CI = 1.57 to 3.04). Conclusions: The prevalence of unplanned readmission following outpatient hand and elbow surgery is low. Several modifiable factors, including preoperative smoking and anemia, are associated with unplanned readmission. These data may be helpful in developing quality-control initiatives to target unplanned readmissions following hand and elbow procedures. Level of Evidence: Therapeutic Level IV. See Instructions for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)541-549
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Bone and Joint Surgery - American Volume
Issue number7
StatePublished - 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Medicine(all)
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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