Burden and correlates of readmissions related to pulmonary edema in US hemodialysis patients: A cohort study

Laura C. Plantinga, Laura M. King, Tahsin Masud, Tariq Shafi, John M. Burkart, Janice P. Lea, Bernard G. Jaar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Background. Pulmonary edema is prevalent and may be a common cause of hospital readmissions in hemodialysis patients. We aimed to estimate the national burden of, and identify correlates of, readmissions related to pulmonary edema among hemodialysis patients. Methods. In this retrospective cohort study using national registry data, we identified prevalent US hemodialysis patients (n = 215 251) with index admissions while under Medicare primary coverage in 2011-13. We defined readmissions as admissions occurring within 30 days of the index discharge and pulmonary edema-related readmissions as readmissions with discharge diagnoses of fluid overload, heart failure or pulmonary edema. Multivariable logistic regression models were used to determine odds ratios (ORs) for pulmonary edema-related readmissions by patient and index admission characteristics. Results. About one-quarter (23%) of index hospital admissions were followed by a readmission, with nearly half (44%) of the readmissions being associated with pulmonary edema. The strongest independent correlate of pulmonary edema-related readmission was a pulmonary edema-related index admission [OR = 2.32; 95% confidence interval (CI) 2.22-2.41]. With the exception of dialysis vintage <1 year (OR = 1.18; 95% CI 1.14-1.22), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (OR = 1.34; 95% CI 1.29-1.38), dialysis non-compliance (OR = 1.53; 95% CI 1.41-1.64) and congestive heart failure (OR = 1.85; 95% CI 1.77-1.93), patient characteristics were not generally associated with higher risk of pulmonary edema-related readmission. Conclusions. Readmissions related to pulmonary edema are common in hemodialysis patients. Interventions aimed at preventing such readmissions could have a substantial impact on readmissions overall, particularly targeted at incident hemodialysis patients with a prior history of heart failure and patients initially admitted for pulmonary edema.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1215-1223
Number of pages9
JournalNephrology Dialysis Transplantation
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1 2018


  • Dialysis
  • fluid overload
  • pulmonary edema
  • readmission
  • rehospitalization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nephrology
  • Transplantation


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