Readmissions from Venous Thromboembolism after Complex Cancer Surgery

Saad Mallick, Taylor Aiken, Patrick Varley, Daniel Abbott, Ching Wei Tzeng, Sharon Weber, Nabil Wasif, Syed Nabeel Zafar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Importance: Venous thromboembolism (VTE) is a major cause of preventable morbidity and mortality after cancer surgery. Venous thromboembolism events that are significant enough to require hospital readmission are potentially life threatening, yet data regarding the frequency of these events beyond the 30-day postoperative period remain limited. Objective: To determine the rates, outcomes, and predictive factors of readmissions owing to VTE up to 180 days after complex cancer operations, using a national data set. Design, Setting, and Participants: A retrospective cohort study of the 2016 Nationwide Readmissions Database was performed to study adult patients readmitted with a primary VTE diagnosis. Data obtained from 197510 visits for 126104 patients were analyzed. This was a multicenter, population-based, nationally representative study of patients who underwent a complex cancer operation (defined as cystectomy, colectomy, esophagectomy, gastrectomy, liver/biliary resection, lung/bronchus resection, pancreatectomy, proctectomy, prostatectomy, or hysterectomy) from January 1 through September 30, 2016, for a corresponding cancer diagnosis. Exposures: Readmission with a primary diagnosis of VTE. Main Outcomes and Measures: Proportion of 30-, 90-, and 180-day VTE readmissions after complex cancer surgery, factors associated with readmissions, and outcomes observed during readmission visit, including mortality, length of stay, hospital cost, and readmission to index vs nonindex hospital. Results: For the 126104 patients included in the study, 30-, 90-, and 180-day VTE-associated readmission rates were 0.6% (767 patients), 1.1% (1331 patients), and 1.7% (1449 of 83337 patients), respectively. A majority of patients were men (58.7%), and the mean age was 65 years (SD, 11.5 years). For the 1331 patients readmitted for VTE within 90 days, 456 initial readmissions (34.3%) were to a different hospital than the index surgery hospital, median length of stay was 5 days (IQR, 3-7 days), median cost was $8102 (IQR, $5311-$10982), and 122 patients died (9.2%). Independent factors associated with readmission included type of operation, scores for severity and risk of mortality, age of 75 to 84 years (odds ratio [OR], 1.30; 95% CI, 1.02-1.78), female sex (OR, 1.23; 95% CI, 1.11-1.37), nonelective index admission (OR, 1.31; 95% CI, 1.03-1.68), higher number of comorbidities (OR, 1.30; 95% CI, 1.06-1.60), and experiencing a major postoperative complication during the index admission (OR, 2.08; 95% CI, 1.85-2.33). Conclusions and Relevance: In this cohort study, VTE-related readmissions after complex cancer surgery continued to increase well beyond 30 days after surgery. Quality improvement efforts to decrease the burden of VTE in postoperative patients should measure and account for these late VTE-related readmissions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)312-320
Number of pages9
JournalJAMA surgery
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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