Objective: To determine the frequency, causes, predictors, and consequences of 30-day readmission after abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) repair.
Background Data: Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will soon reduce total Medicare reimbursements for hospitals with higher-than-predicted 30-day readmission rates after vascular surgical procedures, including AAA repair. However, causes and factors leading to readmission in this population have never before been systematically analyzed.
Methods: We analyzed elective AAA repairs over a 2-year period from the CMS Chronic Conditions Warehouse, a 5% national sample of Medicare beneficiaries.
Results: A total of 2481 patients underwent AAA repair–-1502 endovascular aneurysm repair (EVAR) and 979 open aneurysm repair. Thirty-day readmission rates were equivalent for EVAR (13.3%) and open repair (12.8%). Although wound complication was the most common reason for readmission after both procedures, the relative frequency of other causes differed—eg, bowel obstruction was common after open repair, and graft complication after EVAR. In multivariate analyses, preoperative comorbidities had a modest effect on readmission; however, postoperative factors, including serious complications leading to prolonged length of stay and discharge destination other than home, had a profound influence on the probability of readmission. The 1-year mortality in readmitted patients was 23.4% versus 4.5% in those not readmitted (P < 0.001).
Conclusions: Early readmission is common after AAA repair. Adjusting for comorbidities, postoperative events predict readmission, suggesting that proactively preventing, detecting, and managing postoperative complications may provide an approach to decreasing readmissions, with the potential to reduce cost and possibly enhance long-term survival.