The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has identified early rehospitalization of patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) exacerbations as a performance measure for hospital care. We retrospectively reviewed patients with COPD who were admitted to University Medical Center, Lubbock, Texas, USA, between October 2010 and March 2011. There were 81 COPD patients with 103 hospitalizations. The mean age was 73.9 years. Pulmonary function tests using the Global initiative for chronic Obstructive Lung Disease criteria had been done in 36 patients (44.4%) and revealed 1 mild (2.8%), 7 moderate (19.4%), 20 severe (55.6%), and 8 very severe (22.2%) cases. Only 38.4% of the patients had prior influenza vaccine. Most patients were treated with antibiotics (81.8%) and corticosteroids (87.9%). The mean length of stay was 4.9 days, and 4 patients died. Most of the patients were discharged home (63.6%) with a median follow-up interval of 14 days. Thirty-two percent did not have long-acting bronchodilators and/or inhaled corticosteroids prescribed on discharge. There were 14 early rehospitalizations within 30 days. Logistic regression analysis indicated that a history of coronary artery disease (odds ratio (OR) 6.4, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.1-37.4) and unilateral pulmonary infiltrates (OR 12.8, 95% CI 1.9-86.4) significantly increased the early rehospitalization rates. Acute exacerbations of COPD in patients with a history of ischemic heart disease or unilateral pulmonary infiltrates are at increased risk for early readmission. These risk factors should be identified during hospitalization; early follow-up or other interventions may reduce readmissions. Influenza vaccine, maintenance bronchodilators and/or inhaled corticosteroids, and pulmonary function tests were underused, and these standards of care should be provided to improve care.
- acute exacerbation