Frequency, risk factors, and outcomes of early unplanned readmissions to picus*

Jeffrey D. Edwards, Adam R. Lucas, Patricia W. Stone, W. John Boscardin, R. Adams Dudley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVES:: To determine the rate of unplanned PICU readmissions, examine the characteristics of index admissions associated with readmission, and compare outcomes of readmissions versus index admissions. DESIGN:: Retrospective cohort analysis. SETTING:: Ninety North American PICUs that participated in the Virtual Pediatric Intensive Care Unit Systems. PATIENTS:: One hundred five thousand four hundred thirty-seven admissions between July 2009 and March 2011. INTERVENTIONS:: None. MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS:: Unplanned PICU readmission within 48 hours of index discharge was the primary outcome. Summary statistics, bivariate analyses, and mixed-effects logistic regression model with random effects for each hospital were performed.There were 1,161 readmissions (1.2%). The readmission rate varied among PICUs (0-3.3%), and acute respiratory (56%), infectious (35%), neurological (28%), and cardiovascular (20%) diagnoses were often present on readmission. Readmission risk increased in patients with two or more complex chronic conditions (adjusted odds ratio, 1.72; p < 0.001), unscheduled index admission (adjusted odds ratio, 1.37; p < 0.001), and transfer to an intermediate unit (adjusted odds ratio, 1.29; p = 0.004, compared with ward). Trauma patients had a decreased risk of readmission (adjusted odds ratio, 0.67; p = 0.003). Gender, race, insurance, age more than 6 months, perioperative status, and nighttime transfer were not associated with readmission. Compared with index admissions, readmissions had longer median PICU length of stay (3.1 vs 1.7 d, p < 0.001) and higher mortality (4% vs 2.5%, p = 0.002). CONCLUSIONS:: Unplanned PICU readmissions were relatively uncommon, but were associated with worse outcomes. Several patient and admission characteristics were associated with readmission. These data help identify high-risk patient groups and inform risk-adjustment for standardized readmission rates.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2773-2783
Number of pages11
JournalCritical care medicine
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Child
  • Hospital readmission
  • Intensive care units
  • Pediatric


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