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ACS: Length of Stay for Surgical Patients Dropped From 2014 to 2019

Rate of postdischarge complications for surgical patients increased from 44.6 to 56.5 percent during the same time period

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TUESDAY, Oct. 26, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- For patients undergoing surgery, the median length of stay (LOS) decreased from 2014 to 2019, while postdischarge complications increased, according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the American College of Surgeons, held virtually from Oct. 23 to 27.

Ruojia Debbie Li, M.D., from Northwestern University in Chicago, and colleagues identified patients who underwent surgery across five specialties from 2014 to 2019 to examine LOS and 30-day complications. Trends in the proportion of postdischarge complications were examined.

The researchers found that the median LOS decreased from three to two days from 2014 to 2019 among the 538,712 patients evaluated. Of the patients, 12.2 percent experienced any 30-day complication; about half (50.4 percent) occurred after discharge. From 2014 to 2019, there was an increase observed in the proportion of postdischarge complications, from 44.6 to 56.5 percent, including surgical site infection, other infection, cardiovascular event, and venous thromboembolism. Hispanic or other race, higher American Society of Anesthesiologists class, dependent functional status, increased body mass index, higher wound class, inpatient complications, longer operation, and procedure type were factors associated with increased odds of postdischarge complications.

"Many patients and their families are unprepared for the transition from hospital to home and for the task of self-care," a coauthor said in a statement. "The surgical team may not find out about a complication until the patient goes to the emergency room or comes for a clinic visit."

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