30-day spine surgery readmission higher for malnourished patients: 5 things to know


A new study published in Spine examines how a patient's preoperative nutritional status affects 30-day hospital readmissions after elective spine surgery.

There were 145 patients who underwent elective spine surgery at major academic medical centers reviewed for the study. The researchers examined the preoperative serum albumin level and 30-day readmission rates among the patients.


The researchers found:


1. Both groups reported similar baseline characteristics, with low albumin found in 28 percent of the patients.


2. The malnourished patients were more likely to report postoperative complications as well as longer hospital stays — 8.67 days compared with 3.8 days.


3. There were 14.48 percent of the patients who were readmitted within 30 days of discharged among all patients; however, malnourished patients had a three-fold increase in 30-day readmission rates. There were 27.5 percent of the malnourished patients who were readmitted, compared with 9.5 percent of the nourished group.


4. The preoperative malnutrition was an independent factor in the 30-day readmission rates after elective spine surgery, the researchers found after conducting binary logistic regression with and without propensity scores adjusting for risk factors.


5. With this information, malnutrition laboratory markers can identify patients who are at-risk of hospital readmission. "This risk determination identifies a potentially modifiable risk factor for early readmission," concluded the study authors.


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