Maximizing Readmission Reduction in Colon Cancer Patients

J Surg Res. 2024 Mar:295:587-596. doi: 10.1016/j.jss.2023.11.047. Epub 2023 Dec 13.


Introduction: Multiple studies have identified risk factors for readmission in colon cancer patients. We need to determine which risk factors, when modified, produce the greatest decrease in readmission for patients so that limited resources can be used most effectively by implementing targeted evidence-based performance improvements. We determined the potential impact of various modifiable risk factors on reducing 30-d readmission in colon cancer patients.

Methods: We used a cohort design with the 2012-2020 American College of Surgeons' National Surgical Quality Improvement Program data to track colon cancer patients for 30 d following surgery. Colon cancer patients who received colectomies and were discharged alive were included. Readmission (to the same or another hospital) for any reason within 30 d of the resection was the outcome measure. Modifiable risk factors were the use of minimally invasive surgery (MIS) versus open colectomy, mechanical bowel preparation, preoperative antibiotic use, functional status, smoking, complications (deep vein thrombosis, pulmonary embolism, myocardial infarction, stroke, infections, anastomotic leakage, prolonged postoperative ileus, extensive blood loss, and sepsis), serum albumin, and hematocrit.

Results: 111,691 patients with colon cancer were included in the analysis. About half of the patients were male, most were aged 75 or older, and were discharged home. Overall, 11,138 patients (10.0%) were readmitted within 30 d of surgery. In adjusted analysis, the reduction in readmission would be largest by preventing both prolonged ileus and by switching open colectomies to MIS (28.0% relative reduction) followed by preventing anastomotic leaks (6.2% relative reduction). Improving other modifiable risk factors would have a more limited impact.

Conclusions: The focus of readmission reduction should be on preventing prolonged ileus, increasing the use of MIS, and preventing anastomotic leaks.

Keywords: Anastomotic leak; Colon cancer; Laparoscopy; Prolonged ileus; Quality improvement; Readmission.

MeSH terms

  • Anastomotic Leak / etiology
  • Colectomy / adverse effects
  • Colonic Neoplasms* / surgery
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Ileus* / etiology
  • Male
  • Patient Readmission
  • Postoperative Complications / epidemiology
  • Postoperative Complications / etiology
  • Postoperative Complications / prevention & control
  • Retrospective Studies