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Fewer Than 5 Percent of Thyroid Surgery Patients Readmitted

Majority of readmissions occur within seven days of discharge and one-fourth within two days

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 9, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Readmissions after thyroid surgery are relatively low, and more than half occur within a week after discharge, according to a study recently published in Surgery.

Arturo J. Rios-Diaz, M.D., from Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia, and colleagues used data from the 2014 Nationwide Readmissions Database to evaluate readmissions among patients undergoing inpatient thyroid surgery.

The researchers found that of the 22,654 patients who underwent inpatient thyroid surgery, 4.4 percent were readmitted within 30 days. The most common diagnoses for readmission were disorders of mineral metabolism and hypocalcemia (36 and 26.6 percent, respectively). This finding remained consistent regardless of indication for thyroid surgery (goiter, cancer, or thyroid function disorder) or timing of readmission after discharge. More than half of readmissions (54.6 percent) occurred within seven days of discharge, with 24.6 percent within the first two days. Increased odds of readmission were observed among those with Medicare (adjusted odds ratio [aOR], 1.47) or Medicaid insurance (aOR, 1.44), those discharged to inpatient postacute care (aOR, 2.31) or home health care (aOR, 1.78), those with an Elixhauser comorbidity score ≥4 (aOR, 2.04), and those with a length of stay of at least two days post-thyroid surgery (aOR, 2.7).

“The information we gleaned is directly applicable to patient care and suggests more careful immediate follow-up for patients at high risk for side effects and complications of surgery,” a coauthor said in a statement.

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