The rate and causes of hospital readmissions after liver transplantation (LT) remain largely unknown in the United States. Adult patients (n = 11,937; 43.1% of all LT cases) undergoing LT from 2007 to 2011 were examined with a linkage of the University HealthSystem Consortium and Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients databases to determine the incidence and risk factors for 30-day readmissions and utilization metrics 90 days after LT. The overall 30-day hospital readmission rate after LT was 37.9%, with half of patients admitted within 7 days after discharge. Readmitted patients had worse overall graft and patient survival with a 2-year follow-up. Multivariate analysis identified risk factors associated with 30-day hospital readmission, including a higher Model for End-Stage Liver Disease score, diabetes at LT, dialysis dependence, a high donor risk index allograft, and discharge to a rehabilitation facility. After adjustments for donor, recipient, and geographic factors in a hierarchical model, we found significant variation in readmission rates among hospitals ranging from 26.3% to 50.8% (odds ratio, 0.53-1.90). In the 90-day analysis after LT, readmissions accounted for $43,785 of added costs in comparison with patients who were not readmitted in the first 90 days. This is the first national report showing that more than one-third of LT recipients are readmitted to their center within 30 days and that readmissions are associated with center variation and increased resource utilization.
© 2015 American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases.