Patterns and Predictors of Short-Term Death After Emergency Department Discharge

Department of Medicine, University of California Los Angeles, USA.
Annals of emergency medicine (Impact Factor: 4.33). 07/2011; 58(6):551-558.e2. DOI: 10.1016/j.annemergmed.2011.07.001
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The emergency department (ED) is an inherently high-risk setting. Early death after an ED evaluation is a rare and devastating outcome; understanding it can potentially help improve patient care and outcomes. Using administrative data from an integrated health system, we describe characteristics and predictors of patients who experienced 7-day death after ED discharge.
Administrative data from 12 hospitals were used to identify death after discharge in adults aged 18 year or older within 7 days of ED presentation from January 1, 2007, to December 31, 2008. Patients who were nonmembers of the health system, in hospice care, or treated at out-of-network EDs were excluded. Predictors of 7-day postdischarge death were identified with multivariable logistic regression.
The study cohort contained a total of 475,829 members, with 728,312 discharges from Kaiser Permanente Southern California EDs in 2007 and 2008. Death within 7 days of discharge occurred in 357 cases (0.05%). Increasing age, male sex, and number of preexisting comorbidities were associated with increased risk of death. The top 3 primary discharge diagnoses predictive of 7-day death after discharge included noninfectious lung disease (odds ratio [OR] 7.1; 95% confidence interval [CI] 2.9 to 17.4), renal disease (OR 5.6; 95% CI 2.2 to 14.2), and ischemic heart disease (OR 3.8; 95% CI 1.0 to 13.6).
Our study suggests that 50 in 100,000 patients in the United States die within 7 days of discharge from an ED. To our knowledge, our study is the first to identify potentially "high-risk" discharge diagnoses in patients who experience a short-term death after discharge.

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    ABSTRACT: To identify predictors of hospital inpatient admission of older Medicare beneficiaries after discharge from the emergency department (ED). Retrospective cohort study. Nonfederal California hospitals (n = 284). Visits of Medicare beneficiaries aged 65 and older discharged from California EDs in 2007 (n = 505,315). Using the California Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development files, predictors of hospital inpatient admission within 7 days of ED discharge in older adults (≥65) with Medicare were evaluated. Hospital inpatient admissions within 7 days of ED discharge occurred in 23,340 (4.6%) visits and were associated with older age (70-74: adjusted odds ratio (AOR) = 1.12, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.07-1.17; 75-79: AOR = 1.18, 95% CI = 1.13-1.23; ≥80: AOR = 1.4, 95% CI = 1.35-1.46), skilled nursing facility use (AOR = 1.82, 95% CI = 1.72-1.94), leaving the ED against medical advice (AOR = 1.82, 95% CI = 1.67-1.98), and the following diagnoses with the highest odds of admission: end-stage renal disease (AOR = 3.83, 95% CI = 2.42-6.08), chronic renal disease (AOR = 3.19, 95% CI = 2.26-4.49), and congestive heart failure (AOR = 3.01, 95% CI = 2.59-3.50). Five percent of older Medicare beneficiaries have a hospital inpatient admission after discharge from the ED. Chronic conditions such as renal disease and heart failure were associated with the greatest odds of admission. © 2014, Copyright the Authors Journal compilation © 2014, The American Geriatrics Society.
    Journal of the American Geriatrics Society 12/2014; 63(1). DOI:10.1111/jgs.13185 · 4.22 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Objectives Although 72-hour emergency department (ED) revisits are increasingly used as a hospital metric, there is no known empirical basis for this 72-hour threshold. The objective of this study was to determine the timing of ED revisits for adult patients within 30days of ED discharge. Methods This was a retrospective cohort study of all nonfederal ED discharges in Florida and Nebraska from April 1, 2010, to March 31, 2011, using data from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP). ED discharges were followed forward to identify ED revisits occurring at any hospital within the same state within 30days. The cumulative hazard of an ED revisit was plotted. Parametric and nonparametric modeling was performed to characterize the rate of ED revisits. Results There were 4,782,045 ED discharges, with 7.5% (95% confidence interval [CI]=7.4% to 7.5%) associated with 3-day revisits, and 22.4% (95% CI=22.3% to 22.4%) associated with 30-day revisits, inclusive of the 3-day revisits. A double-exponential model fit the data best (p<0.0001), and a single hinge point at 9days (multivariate adaptive regression splines [MARS] model) yielded the best linear fit to the data, suggesting 9days as the most reasonable cutoff for identification of acute ED revisits. Multiple stratified and subgroup analyses produced similar results. Future work should focus on identifying primary reasons for potentially avoidable return ED visits instead of on the revisit occurrence itself, thus more directly measuring potential lapses in delivery of high-quality care. Conclusions Almost one-quarter of ED discharges are linked to 30-day ED revisits, and the current 72-hour ED metric misses close to 70% of these patients. Our findings support 9days as a more inclusive cutoff for studies of ED revisits.
    Academic Emergency Medicine 08/2014; 21(8). DOI:10.1111/acem.12442 · 2.20 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Background Many believe that fear of malpractice lawsuits drives physicians to order otherwise unnecessary care and that legal reforms could reduce such wasteful spending. Emergency physicians practice in an information-poor, resource-rich environment that may lend itself to costly defensive practice. Three states, Texas (in 2003), Georgia (in 2005), and South Carolina (in 2005), enacted legislation that changed the malpractice standard for emergency care to gross negligence. We investigated whether these substantial reforms changed practice. Methods Using a 5% random sample of Medicare fee-for-service beneficiaries, we identified all emergency department visits to hospitals in the three reform states and in neighboring (control) states from 1997 through 2011. Using a quasi-experimental design, we compared patient-level outcomes, before and after legislation, in reform states and control states. We controlled for characteristics of the patients, time-invariant hospital characteristics, and temporal trends. Outcomes were policy-attributable changes in the use of computed tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), per-visit emergency department charges, and the rate of hospital admissions. Results For eight of the nine state-outcome combinations tested, no policy-attributable reduction in the intensity of care was detected. We found no reduction in the rates of CT or MRI utilization or hospital admission in any of the three reform states and no reduction in charges in Texas or South Carolina. In Georgia, reform was associated with a 3.6% reduction (95% confidence interval, 0.9 to 6.2) in per-visit emergency department charges. Conclusions Legislation that substantially changed the malpractice standard for emergency physicians in three states had little effect on the intensity of practice, as measured by imaging rates, average charges, or hospital admission rates. (Funded by the Veterans Affairs Office of Academic Affiliations and others.).
    New England Journal of Medicine 10/2014; 371(16):1518-1525. DOI:10.1056/NEJMsa1313308 · 54.42 Impact Factor

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