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Implementation of Transitional Care Planning is Associated with Reduced Readmission Rates in Patients Undergoing Lower Extremity Bypass Surgery for Peripheral Arterial Disease

Published:March 07, 2022DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.avsg.2022.02.018

      Background

      Patients undergoing lower extremity bypasses (LEB) are at a high risk of developing post-discharge complications requiring readmission. Health systems have developed several strategies to mitigate this risk. One such measure is developing comprehensive Transitional Care Program (TCP), which includes phone calls to patients after being discharged from the hospital. Our study aimed to assess short-term readmission, mortality, and amputation rates of patients who participated in TCP by completing at least one post-discharge follow-up phone call after undergoing LEB for revascularization of peripheral arterial disease (PAD).

      Methods

      A retrospective review was completed for patients who underwent LEB surgery between January 2010 and January 2020 to treat PAD at Penn State Hershey Medical Center. Immediate discharge follow-up was done via telephone calls using a standardized script. Patients were then divided into two groups, those who did not have a successful follow-up call (Group I) and those who had at least one successful follow-up call within seven days after discharge (Group II). Univariate analysis was used to compare preoperative demographics, intraoperative variables, and postoperative outcomes. The probability of readmission and risk factors contributing to it were computed using multiple stepwise forward regression analyses. Epidemiological analysis was done to evaluate the risk of readmission in the group receiving post-discharge follow-up calls.

      Results

      A total of 457 patients underwent LEB from 2010 to 2020 and qualified for inclusion in the study. Among these patients, 126 (27.6%) did not have a successful post-discharge follow-up call (Group I), whereas, 331 (72.4%) patients did complete a successful call (Group II). The mean age of patients was 66.7 years. There were no significant differences in preoperative baseline patient characteristics or intraoperative factors. Patients who completed a successful call had lower readmission rates within thirty days of the operation (8.8 vs. 17.5%, P = 0.008), and this was sustained in multivariate analysis (adjusted odds ratio AOR: 0.18, [confidence interval CI: 0.05–0.66], P = 0.009). However, no differences were observed for thirty-day mortality (Group-I: 3.2% versus Group-II: 1.2%, P = 0.152) or amputation (Group-I: 9.6% versus Group II 5.9%, P = 0.162). Among those who had a successful call, patients with a history of smoking (AOR: 4.05 [CI: 1.21, 17.12] P = 0.025), diabetes mellitus (AOR: 3.42 [CI: 1.35, 8.7] P = 0.01) and myocardial infarction (AOR: 7.15 [CI: 1.76, 20.1] P = 0.006) had a much higher chances of readmission. Risk analysis using epidemiological methods showed that by receiving a call, the risk of readmission could be dropped to half (RR: 0.50 [CI: 0.30, 0.84]), with an attributable risk reduction of −8.7% (CI: −15.9%, −1.4%).

      Conclusions

      This single-institution retrospective study demonstrates the importance of immediate discharge follow-up phone calls in patients who undergo open lower extremity revascularization to reduce thirty-day readmissions. Our analysis showed patients who received immediate follow-up phone calls were less likely to be readmitted to the hospital. The development of reliable and efficient systems to enhance immediate discharge follow-up in vascular surgery patients is pivotal to improving quality of care, preventing readmissions, and reducing healthcare costs.
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