Postoperative 30-day emergency department utilization after 7294 cranial neurosurgery procedures at a tertiary neuroscience center

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  • 1 Department of Neurological Surgery, Barrow Neurological Institute, St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center, Phoenix, Arizona; and
  • 2 Department of Neurological Surgery, The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, Columbus, Ohio
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OBJECTIVE

Hospital readmission and the reduction thereof has become a major quality improvement initiative in organized medicine and neurosurgery. However, little research has been performed on why neurosurgical patients utilize hospital emergency rooms (ERs) with or without subsequent admission in the postoperative setting.

METHODS

This study was a retrospective, single-center review of data for all surgical cranial procedures performed from July 2013 to July 2016 in patients who survived to discharge. The study was approved by the institutional review board of the participating medical center.

RESULTS

The authors identified 7294 cranial procedures performed during 6596 hospital encounters in 5385 patients. The rate of postoperative ER utilization within 30 days after surgical hospitalization across all procedure types was 13.1 per 100 surgeries performed. The two most common chief complaints were pain (30.7%) and medical complication (18.2%). After identification of relevant surgical and patient factors with univariable analysis, a multivariable backward elimination logistic regression model was constructed in which Ommaya reservoir placement (OR 2.65, p = 0.0008) and cranial CSF shunt placement (OR 1.40, p = 0.0001) were associated with increased ER utilization. Deep brain stimulation electrode placement (OR 0.488, p = 0.0004), increasing hospital length of stay (OR 0.935, p < 0.0001), and increasing patient age (OR 0.988, p < 0.0001) were associated with lower rates of postoperative ER utilization. One-half (50%) of ER visit patients were readmitted to the hospital. New/worsening neurological deficit chief complaint (OR 1.99, p = 0.0088), fever chief complaint (OR 2.41, p = 0.0205), altered mentation chief complaint (OR 2.71, p = 0.0002), patient chronic kidney disease (OR 3.31, p = 0.0037), brain biopsy procedure type (OR 3.50, p = 0.0398), and wound infection chief complaint (OR 31.4, p = 0.0008) were associated with increased rates of readmission to the hospital from the ER in multivariable analysis.

CONCLUSIONS

The authors report the rates of and reasons for ER utilization in a large cohort of postoperative cranial neurosurgical patients. Factors identified were associated with both increased and decreased use of the ER after cranial surgery, as well as variables associated with readmission to the hospital after postoperative ER visitation. These findings may direct future quality improvement via prospective implementation of care pathways for high-risk procedures.

ABBREVIATIONS ASA = American Society of Anesthesiologists; DBS = deep brain stimulation; ER = emergency room; LOS = length of stay.

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Contributor Notes

Correspondence Douglas A. Hardesty: The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, Columbus, OH. douglas.hardesty@osumc.edu.

INCLUDE WHEN CITING Published online January 29, 2021; DOI: 10.3171/2020.8.JNS202404.

Disclosures Dr. Bohl reports ownership of SurgiSTUD, LLC, being a patent holder in Dignity Health, and being a consultant for DePuy-Synthes Spine. Dr. Little reports ownership of Kogent and being a consultant for SPIway.

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