TUESDAY, Nov. 27, 2018 (HealthDay News) — Nearly one in five patients undergoing head and neck cancer surgery reconstruction is readmitted within 30 days of surgery, according to a study published online Nov. 8 in JAMA Facial Plastic Surgery.

Alexander N. Goel, from the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California in Los Angeles, and colleagues assessed the rate, risk factors, and causes of 30-day readmission in 9,487 patients (median age, 63 years) with head and neck cancer following free or pedicled flap reconstruction.

The researchers found that the 30-day readmission rate was 19.4 percent, with a mean cost per readmission of $15,916. Wound complication was the most common reason for readmission (26.5 percent). Significant risk factors for 30-day readmission included median household income in the lowest quartile (odds ratio [OR], 1.58), congestive heart failure (OR, 1.68), liver disease (OR, 2.02), total laryngectomy (OR, 1.40), pharyngectomy (OR, 1.47), blood transfusion (OR, 1.30), discharge to home with home health care (OR, 1.32), and discharge to a nursing facility (OR, 1.77).

“These findings may be useful to clinicians in developing perioperative interventions aimed to reduce hospital readmissions and improve quality of patient care,” the authors write.

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