Infection Most Likely Cause of Hospital Readmission After Hysterectomy

A new study finds infections are the most likely reason people end up back in the hospital after surgery – including hysterectomy.

In the report published Feb. 3 in the Journal of the American Medical Association with nearly 500,000 operations studied, 6 percent of the patients were readmitted for surgical complications within a month after their surgery, researchers found.

Lead researcher Dr. Karl Bilimoria, an assistant professor of surgery at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago said, “The number one complication leading to readmission was surgical wound infection.”

“Readmissions after surgery are not due to mismanagement or poor care. They are related to well-known and well-accepted complications after surgery,” Bilimoria said.

Knowing why readmissions happen is the first step in reducing them, he explained.

The researchers looked at readmission rates and reasons for all operations in nearly 350 U.S. hospitals including looking in greater detail  at six commonly performed operations:: weight-loss surgery (bariatric procedures); removal of all or part of the colon (colectomy or proctectomy); removal of the uterus (hysterectomy); total hip or knee replacement; stomach hernia repair (ventral hernia repair); and bypass surgery of leg arteries.

The study found that the rate of readmission for any complication after surgery ranged from less than 4 percent after hysterectomy to 15 percent after leg artery bypass surgery.

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