JOURNAL ARTICLE

Epidemiology of Readmissions After Sepsis Hospitalization in Children

Andrew J Prout, Victor B Talisa, Joseph A Carcillo, Derek C Angus, Chung-Chou H Chang, Sachin Yende
Hospital Pediatrics 2019 March 1
30824488

BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: The decline in hospital mortality in children hospitalized with sepsis has increased the number of survivors. These survivors are at risk for adverse long-term outcomes, including readmission and recurrent or unresolved infections. We described the epidemiology of 90-day readmissions after sepsis hospitalization in children. We tested the hypothesis that a sepsis hospitalization increases odds of 90-day readmissions.

METHODS: Retrospective cohort analysis of the Nationwide Readmissions Database. We included index unplanned admissions of non-neonatal pediatric patients and described the proportion of readmissions, including those involving infection or sepsis. We performed multivariable analysis to determine the odds of readmission after a sepsis and nonsepsis admission and compared costs of readmission after sepsis and nonsepsis admissions.

RESULTS: Of 562 817 pediatric admissions, 7634 (1.4%) and 555 183 (98.6%) were discharged alive after admissions with and without sepsis. The rate of 90-day readmission after sepsis was 21.4%: 7.2% and 25.5% in previously healthy and chronically ill patients. The adjusted mean cost during readmission was $7385. Half of readmissions (52.9%) involved recurrent infection or sepsis. Sepsis admissions were associated with higher odds of readmission at 90 days compared with nonsepsis admissions (adjusted odds ratio 1.15, 95% confidence interval 1.08-1.23). The results remained unchanged for 30-day and 6-month readmissions.

CONCLUSIONS: Readmissions occur after 1 in 5 pediatric sepsis hospitalizations and increase health care costs. Sepsis hospitalization increased odds of readmission and commonly involved recurrent infection or sepsis. Clinicians caring for these patients should consider surveillance for recurrent or unresolved infection, and researchers should explore underlying mechanisms and potential interventions to reduce readmissions.

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