Reasons for Readmission Following Primary Total Shoulder Arthroplasty
Authors’ Disclosure Statement: The American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (ACS NSQIP) and the hospitals participating in the ACS NSQIP are the source of the data used herein; they have not verified and are not responsible for the statistical validity of the data analysis or the conclusions derived by the authors. The authors report no actual or potential conflict of interest in relation to this article.
Dr. Cvetanovich is a Sports Medicine Fellow, Dr. Bohl is a Resident, Dr. Verma and Dr. Cole are Professors, and Dr. Nicholson is an Associate Professor, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, Illinois. Dr. Frank is an Assistant Professor, University of Colorado, Aurora, Colorado. Dr. Romeo is Chief of Orthopaedics, Rothman Institute, New York. Dr. Cvetanovich was a resident at the time the article was written.
Address correspondence to: Gregory L. Cvetanovich, MD, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Rush University Medical Center, 1611 W. Harrison St, Suite 300, Chicago, IL 60612 (tel, 312-243-4244; fax, 708-409-5179; email, Gregory.firstname.lastname@example.org).
Am J Orthop. 2018;47(7). Copyright Frontline Medical Communications Inc. 2018. All rights reserved.
An increasing interest focuses on the rates and risk factors for hospital readmission. However, little is known regarding the readmission following total shoulder arthroplasty (TSA). This study aims to determine the rates, risk factors, and reasons for hospital readmission following primary TSA. Patients undergoing TSA (anatomic or reverse) as part of the American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program in 2011 to 2013 were identified. The rate of unplanned readmission to the hospital within 30 postoperative days was characterized. Using multivariate regression, demographic and comorbidity factors were tested for independent association with readmission. Finally, the reasons for readmission were characterized. A total of 3627 patients were identified. Among the admitted patients, 93 (2.56%) were readmitted within 30 days of surgery. The independent risk factors for readmission included old age (for age 60-69 years, relative risk [RR] = 1.6; for age 70-79 years, RR = 2.3; for age ≥80 years, RR = 23.1; P = .042), male sex (RR = 1.6, P = .025), anemia (RR = 1.9, P = .005), and dependent functional status (RR = 2.8, P = .012). The reasons for readmission were available for 84 of the 93 readmitted patients. The most common reasons for readmission comprised pneumonia (14 cases, 16.7%), dislocation (7 cases, 8.3%), pulmonary embolism (7 cases, 8.3%), and surgical site infection (6 cases, 7.1%). Unplanned readmission occurs following about 1 in 40 cases of TSA. The most common causes of readmission include pneumonia, dislocation, pulmonary embolism, and surgical site infection. Patients with old age, male sex, anemia, and dependent functional status are at higher risk for readmission and should be counseled and monitored accordingly.
- Shoulder arthroplasty is an increasingly commonly performed procedure for shoulder arthritis and other conditions.
- Unplanned readmission in the 30 days after shoulder arthroplasty occurred in about 1 of 40 cases.
- Increasing age was associated with readmission, particularly age >80 years.
- Other risk factors for readmission were male sex, anemia, and dependent functional status.
- The most common reasons for readmission were pneumonia, dislocation, pulmonary embolism, and surgical site infection.
Total shoulder arthroplasty (TSA) is performed with increasing frequency in the United States and is considered to be cost-effective.1-4 Following the procedure, patients generally achieve shoulder function and pain relief.5-8 Despite the success of the procedure, the growing literature on TSA has also reported rates of complications between 3.6% and 25% of the treated patients.9-16
In recent years, an increasing interest has focused on the rates and risk factors for unplanned hospital readmissions; these variables may not only reflect the quality of patient care but also result in considerable costs to the healthcare system. For instance, among Medicare patients, readmissions within 30 days of discharge occur in almost 20% of cases, costing $17.4 billion per year.17 Readmission rates increasingly factor into hospital performance metrics and reimbursement, including the Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act that reduces Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services payments to hospitals with high 30-day readmission rates.18
To date, only a few studies have evaluated readmission following TSA, with 30- to 90-day readmission rates ranging from 4.5% to 7.3%.19-23 These studies comprised single institution series20,22 and analyses of administrative databases.19,21,23 Most studies have shown that readmission occurs more often for medical than surgical reasons, with surgical reasons most commonly including infection and dislocation.19-23 However, only limited analyses have been conducted regarding risk factors for readmission.21,23 To date and to our knowledge, no study has investigated reasons for readmission following TSA using nationwide data.
This study aims to determine the rates, risk factors, and reasons for hospital readmission following primary TSA in the United States using the American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (NSQIP) database.
The NSQIP database was utilized to address the study purpose. NSQIP is a nationwide prospective surgical registry established by the American College of Surgeons and reports data from academic and community hospitals across the United States.24 Patients undertaking surgery at these centers are followed by the surgical clinical reviewers at the participating NSQIP sites prospectively for 30 days following the procedure to record complications including readmission. Preoperative and surgical data, such as demographics, medical comorbid diseases, and operative time, are also included. Previous studies have analyzed the complications of various orthopedic surgeries using the NSQIP data.14,16,25-30
We retrospectively identified from NSQIP the patients who underwent primary TSA (anatomic or reverse) in 2013 to 2014. The timeframe 2013 to 2014 was used because NSQIP only began recording reasons for readmission in 2013. The inclusion criteria were as follows: Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) code for TSA (23472); preoperative diagnosis according to the International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision (ICD-9) codes 714.0, 715.11, 715.31, 715.91, 715.21, 715.89, 716.xx 718.xx, 719.xx, 726.x, 727.xx, and 733.41 (where x is a wild card digit); and no missing demographic, comorbidity, or outcome data. Anatomic and reverse TSA were analyzed together because they share the same CPT code, and the NSQIP database prevents searching by the ICD-9 procedure code.
The rate of unplanned readmission to the hospital within 30 postoperative days was characterized. The reasons for readmission in this 30-day period were only available in 2013 and were determined using the ICD-9 diagnosis codes. Patient demographics were recorded for use in identifying potential risk factors for readmission; the demographic data included sex, age, smoking status, body mass index (BMI), and comorbidities, including end-stage renal disease, dyspnea on exertion, congestive heart failure, diabetes mellitus, hypertension, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Statistical analyses were performed using Stata version 13.1 (StataCorp). First, using bivariate and multivariate regression, demographic and comorbidity factors were tested for independent association with readmission to the hospital within 30 days of surgery. Second, among the readmitted patients, the reasons for readmission were tabulated. Of note, the reasons for readmission were only documented for the procedures performed in 2013. All tests were 2-tailed and conducted at an α level of 0.05.
A total of 3627 TSA patients were identified. The mean age (± standard deviation) was 69.4 ± 9.5 years, 55.8% of patients were female, and mean BMI was 30.1 ± 7.0 years. Table 1 provides the additional demographic data. Of the 3627 included patients, 93 (2.56%) were readmitted within 30 days of surgery. The 95% confidence interval for the estimated rate of readmission reached 2.05% to 3.08%.
In the bivariate analyses (Table 2), the following factors were positively associated readmission: older age (60-69 years, relative risk [RR] = 1.6; 70-79 years, RR = 2.2; ≥80 years, RR = 3.3; P = .011), dependent functional status (RR = 2.9, P = .008), and anemia (RR = 2.2, P < .001).
In the multivariate analyses (Table 3), the following factors were independent risk factors for readmission: older age (60-69 years, RR = 1.6; 70-79 years, RR = 2.3; ≥80 years, RR = 3.1; P =.027), male sex (RR = 1.6, P = .025), anemia (RR = 1.9, P = .005), and dependent functional status (RR = 2.8, P = .012). Interestingly, readmission showed no independent association with diabetes, dyspnea on exertion, BMI, COPD, hypertension, or current smoking status (P > .05 for each).
The reasons for readmission were available for 84 of the 93 readmitted patients. The most common reasons for readmission included pneumonia (14 cases, 16.7%), dislocation (7 cases, 8.3%), pulmonary embolism (7 cases, 8.3%), and surgical site infection (6 cases, 7.1%) (Table 4).
Our analysis of 3042 TSAs from the NSQIP database suggests that unplanned readmission to the hospital occurs following about 1 in 40 cases of TSA. The study also suggests that the most common reasons for readmission encompass pneumonia, dislocation, pulmonary embolism, and surgical site infection. Old age, male sex, anemia, and dependent functional status serve as risk factors for readmission, and patients with such factors should be counseled and monitored accordingly.
In recent years, an increasing emphasis has centered on reducing rates of hospital readmission, with programs such as the Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program of the Affordable Care Act cutting reimbursements for hospitals with high 30-day readmission rates.17,18 To date, only a few studies have evaluated the reasons for readmission and readmission rates for TSA.19-23 Initial reports consisted of single-institution TSA registry reviews. For example, Mahoney and colleagues20 retrospectively evaluated shoulder arthroplasty procedures at their institution to document the readmission rates, finding a 5.9% readmission rate at 30 days. Readmission occurred more frequently in the first 30 days following discharge than in the 30- to 90-day period, with the most common reasons for readmission including medical complications, infection, and dislocation. Streubel and colleagues22 evaluated reoperation rates from their institution’s TSA registry, finding a 0.6% reoperation rate for primary TSA at 30 days and 1.5% for revision TSA. Instability and infection were the most common indications for reoperation. Our findings confirm these single-institution results and demonstrate their application to a nationwide sample of TSA, not just to high-volume academic centers. We similarly observed that dislocation, surgical site infection, and medical complications (mostly pneumonia and pulmonary embolism) were common causes of readmission, and that the 30-day readmission rate was about 1 in 40.
Several authors have since used statewide databases to analyze and determine risk factors for readmission following TSA. Lyman and colleagues19 used the New York State Database to show that higher hospital TSA surgical volume was associated with a lower rate of readmission when age and comorbidities were controlled for in a multivariate model. Old age was also associated with an increased readmission rate in their multivariate analysis, but comorbidities (as measured by the Charlson comorbidity index) presented a nonsignificant associative trend. These authors opted not to determine specific causes of readmission. Schairer and colleagues21 used State Inpatient Databases from 7 states, finding a 90-day readmission rate of 7.3%, 82% of which were due to medical complications and 18% of which were due to surgical complications (mostly infection and dislocation). Their multivariate regression revealed that male sex, reverse TSA, Medicaid insurance, patients discharged to inpatient rehabilitation or nursing facilities, medical comorbidities, and low-volume TSA hospitals were associated with readmission. Zhang and colleagues23 used the same source to show that the 90-day readmission rate reached 14% for surgically treated proximal humerus fractures and higher for patients who underwent open reduction internal fixation, were female, were African American, were discharged to a nursing facility, possessed Medicaid insurance, or experienced medical comorbidities. Most recently, Basques and colleagues31 analyzed 1505 TSA cases from 2011 and 2012 in the NSQIP database, finding a 3.3% rate of readmission, with heart disease and hypertension as risk factors for readmission. Although the limitations of the NSQIP database prevented us from analyzing surgeon and hospital TSA volume or reverse vs anatomic TSA, our results confirm that the findings from statewide database studies apply to the United States nationwide NSQIP database. Old patient age, male sex, and medical comorbidities (anemia and dependent functional status) are independent risk factors for TSA readmission. We identified pneumonia, dislocation, pulmonary embolism, and surgical site infection as the most common reasons for readmission.
This study features several limitations that should be considered when interpreting the results. Anatomic and reverse TSA share a CPT code and were not separated using NSQIP data. A number of studies have reported that reverse TSA may place patients at higher risk for readmission;20,21 however, confounding by other patient factors could play a role in this finding. The 30-day timeframe for readmission is another potential limitation; however, this timeframe is frequently used in other studies and is the relevant timeframe for the reduced reimbursement penalties from the Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program of the Affordable Care Act.18 Furthermore, the NSQIP database contains no information on surgeon or hospital TSA volume, which is a result of safeguards for patient and provider privacy. Additionally, readmission data were only available for 2011 to 2013, with causes of readmission only present in 2013. Although provided with such current information, we cannot analyze readmission trends over time, such as in response to the Affordable Care Act of 2010. Finally, although NSQIP surgical clinical reviewers strive to identify readmissions to other hospitals during their reviews of outpatient medical records, proportions of these readmissions are possibly missed. Therefore, our 30-day readmission rate may slightly underestimate the true rate.
Despite these limitations, the NSQIP database offers a unique opportunity to examine risk factors and reasons for readmission following TSA. The prior literature on readmission following TSA stemmed either from limited samples or administrative data, which feature known limitations.32 By utilizing a large, prospective, non-administrative, nationwide sample, our findings are probably both more reliable and generalizable to the country as a whole.
Unplanned readmission occurs following about 1 in 40 cases of TSA. The most common causes of readmission include pneumonia, dislocation, pulmonary embolism, and surgical site infection. Patients with old age, male sex, anemia, and dependent functional status are at a higher risk for readmission and should be counseled and monitored accordingly.
This paper will be judged for the Resident Writer’s Award.