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Open Access Research article

Factors predicting hospital length-of-stay and readmission after colorectal resection: a population-based study of elective and emergency admissions

Maria Kelly*, Linda Sharp, Fiona Dwane, Tracy Kelleher and Harry Comber

Author Affiliations

National Cancer Registry, Building 6800, Cork Airport Business Park, Cork, Ireland

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BMC Health Services Research 2012, 12:77  doi:10.1186/1472-6963-12-77

Published: 26 March 2012

Abstract

Background

The impact of developments in colorectal cancer surgery on length-of-stay (LOS) and re-admission have not been well described. In a population-based analysis, we investigated predictors of LOS and emergency readmission after the initial surgery episode.

Methods

Incident colorectal cancers (ICD-O2: C18-C20), diagnosed 2002-2008, were identified from the National Cancer Registry Ireland, and linked to hospital in-patient episodes. For those who underwent colorectal resection, the associated hospital episode was identified. Factors predicting longer LOS (upper-quartile, > 24 days) for elective and emergency admissions separately, and whether LOS predicted emergency readmission within 28 days of discharge, were investigated using logistic regression.

Results

8197 patients underwent resection, 63% (n = 5133) elective and 37% (n = 3063) emergency admissions. Median LOS was 14 days (inter-quartile range (IQR) = 11-20) for elective and 21 (15-33) for emergency admissions. For both emergency and elective admissions, likelihood of longer LOS was significantly higher in patients who were older, had co-morbidities and were unmarried; it was reduced for private patients. For emergency patients only the likelihood of longer LOS was lower for patients admitted to higher-volume hospitals. Longer LOS was associated with increased risk of emergency readmission.

Conclusions

One quarter of patients stay in hospital for at least 25 days following colorectal resection. Over one third of resected patients are emergency admissions and these have a significantly longer median LOS. Patient- and health service-related factors were associated with prolonged LOS. Longer LOS was associated with increased risk of emergency readmission. The cost implications of these findings are significant.

Keywords:
Colorectal; Cancer; Length-of-stay; Surgery; Elective; Emergency; Readmission rate