Incidence of and risk factors associated with care fragmentation following bariatric surgery

Joseph K. Canner, Sarah R. Kaslow, Faiz Gani, Hatim A. AlSulaim, Gregory P. Prokopowicz, Selma Pourzal, Kimberley E. Steele

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Background: Current readmission rates do not account for readmissions to nonindex hospitals and may underestimate the actual burden of readmissions. Objective: Using a nationally representative database, we sought to characterize nonindex readmissions following bariatric surgery and identify risk factors associated with readmission to a nonindex hospital. Setting: Patients in the United States undergoing elective bariatric surgery. Methods: The Nationwide Readmissions Database was used to identify a weighted sample of 545,377 patients undergoing elective bariatric surgery between 2010 and 2014. Multivariable logistic regression analysis was used to identify factors associated with readmission to a nonindex hospital. Results: Among all patients, 5.6% were readmitted at least once within 30 days. Within the subgroup of patients who were readmitted, 17.6% were readmitted to a different hospital than the index admission hospital. Factors independently associated with higher odds of readmission to a nonindex hospital were primary payor (Medicare: odds ratio [OR] = 1.48, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.24–1.75; Medicaid: OR = 1.56, 95% CI: 1.26–1.95), All Patients Refined Diagnosis Related Group severity of illness score (extreme versus minor: OR = 1.48; 95% CI: 1.04–2.09), primary procedure (laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy versus laparoscopic gastric bypass: OR = 1.23; 95% CI: 1.05–1.44), hospital bed size (reference: small hospital, medium: OR =.52, 95% CI:.39–.70; large: OR =.47, 95% CI:.35–.63), hospital ownership (reference: private, nonprofit hospital, government: OR = 1.77, 95% CI: 1.32–2.37; private, investor-owned: OR = 1.33, 95% CI: 1.07–1.64), and hospital location (reference: metropolitan area >1 million population, metropolitan <1 million population: OR =.44, 95% CI:.34–.56; micropolitan/rural: OR =.44, 95% CI:.27–.73). Conclusion: Failure to account for readmissions to different hospitals may underestimate readmission rates by approximately 18%.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1170-1181
Number of pages12
JournalSurgery for Obesity and Related Diseases
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2019


  • Bariatric surgery
  • Care fragmentation
  • Nonindex readmission
  • Readmission

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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