Burden of Clostridium difficile infection on hospital readmissions and its potential impact under the Hospital Readmission Reduction Program

Teena Chopra, Anupama Neelakanta, Carolyn Dombecki, Reda A Awali, Sarit Sharma, Keith S Kaye, Paru Patel
American Journal of Infection Control 2015 April 1, 43 (4): 314-7

BACKGROUND: Both Clostridium [corrected] difficile infection (CDI) rates in hospitals and interest in reducing 30-day readmission rates have increased dramatically in the United States. The objective of this study was to characterize the burden of CDI on 30-day hospital readmissions at a tertiary care health-system.

METHODS: A patient discharge database was used to identify patients with a CDI diagnosis (ICD-9 code 008.45) during their stay in 2012. Patients were classified as index admissions (CDI discharges) or 30-day readmissions (CDI readmissions). Readmission rates, length of stay (LOS), and time to readmission were assessed among CDI readmissions.

RESULTS: Among discharges from the health system (n = 51,353), 615 were diagnosed with CDI (1%). Thirty-day readmissions were more common among CDI discharges (30.1%) than non-CDI discharges (14.4%). Average LOS for CDI readmissions was 5-6 days longer than non-CDI readmissions. Time to readmission was shorter among CDI discharges diagnosed on admission than CDI discharges diagnosed later during their hospital stay (median, 7 days).

CONCLUSION: Reductions in hospital-onset CDI and readmission of patients with an index CDI can provide tremendous cost savings to hospitals. This calls for better infection control and antibiotic stewardship measures toward CDI management in the hospital and as patients transition to the next level of care.

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