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Risk factors for hospital re-presentation among older adults following fragility fractures: a systematic review and meta-analysis

  • Saira A. Mathew1, 2,
  • Elise Gane2, 3,
  • Kristiann C. Heesch1 and
  • Steven M. McPhail1, 2Email author
BMC Medicine201614:136

https://doi.org/10.1186/s12916-016-0671-x

Received: 17 May 2016

Accepted: 6 August 2016

Published: 12 September 2016

Abstract

Background

Older adults hospitalized with fragility fractures are at high risk of negative events that can culminate in re-presentations to hospital emergency departments or readmissions to hospital. This systematic review aimed to identify patient, clinical, or hospital-related factors that are identifiable at the index admission and that may be associated with re-presentations to hospital emergency departments or hospital readmissions in older adults following fragility fractures.

Methods

Four electronic databases (PubMed, CINAHL, Embase, and Scopus) were searched. A suite of search terms identified peer-reviewed English-language articles that examined potential correlates of hospital re-presentation in older adults (mean age ≥ 65 years) who were discharged from hospital following treatment for fragility fractures. A three-stage screening process (titles, abstracts, full text) was conducted by two researchers independently. Participant characteristics, study design, potential correlates examined, analyses, and findings were extracted for studies included in the review. Quality and risk of bias were assessed with the Effective Public Health Practice Project Quality Assessment Tool. The strength of evidence was incorporated into a best evidence synthesis, and meta-analysis was conducted where effect pooling was possible.

Results

Eleven of 35 eligible studies were categorized as high quality studies. These studies reported that age, higher Cumulative Illness Rating scores, American Society of Anesthesiologists scores > 3, longer length of stay, male sex, cardiovascular disease, low post-operative hemoglobin, kidney disease, dementia and cancer were factors identified at the index admission that were predictive of subsequent re-presentation to hospital. Age was the only predictor for which pooling of effects across studies was possible: pooling was conducted for re-presentation ≤ 30 days (pooled OR, 1.27; 95 % CI, 1.14–1.43) and > 30 days (pooled OR, 1.23; 95 % CI, 1.01–1.50).

Conclusions

The best-evidence synthesis, in addition to the meta-analysis, identified a range of factors that may have utility in guiding clinical practice and policy guidelines for targeted interventions to reduce the need for re-presentation to hospital among this frail clinical population. The paucity of studies investigating re-presentations to hospital emergency departments without admission was an important gap in the literature identified in this review. Key limitations were exclusion of non-English language studies and grey literature.

Systematic review registration

PROSPERO CRD42015019379.

Keywords

Readmissions Frailty Fractures Geriatric Risk factors

Background

The incidence of fragility fractures is expected to rise as the population of older adults increases [1, 2]. Fragility fractures are fractures sustained from relatively minor forces (e.g., fall from standing height or less) and often occur among people with osteoporosis [3]. Negative outcomes associated with these fractures include disability, morbidity, hospitalization, and increased risk of premature death following the fracture event [4]. These unfavorable outcomes burden patients and increase demand on healthcare services [5, 6].

During an index presentation to hospital after a fragility fracture, the fracture will be examined, and unstable fractures will typically be stabilized using either surgical or non-surgical approaches [7]. Following acute management of the fracture and potentially inpatient rehabilitation, patients are discharged from hospital. However, a re-presentation to hospital may be required soon after discharge [8].

Although there is inconsistency regarding time-frames between studies investigating hospital re-presentations, these may typically be considered to include subsequent unplanned visits to a hospital sometime within the first 2 years following hospitalization [9]. They include emergency department (ED) visits without hospital admission, same-day discharges, and inpatient admissions for 1 or more days. Most older adults returning to hospital within 1 month re-present with a clinical problem or diagnosis related to their index admission, and this is a relatively frequent occurrence among older adults [10].

For those seeking to decrease re-presentation rates after treatment for fragility fractures, it is advantageous to understand the factors that predict re-presentations. To date, no systematic review has examined the range of reported risk factors for hospital re-presentation among older adults following hospitalization for fragility fracture management. One systematic review examined the timing of surgery on negative outcomes following hip fractures [11]. The authors concluded that surgery within 48 hours of hospital admission for a hip fracture reduced the length of hospital stay, mortality rates, and complications. They also concluded that surgical delays increased the risk of complications. Another review examined the outcomes of patients with osteoporotic fractures after hospital discharge [12]. Those patients were reported to be at high risk of morbidity, mortality, and subsequent fracture. Another systematic review summarized the risk factors for hospital readmissions in non-fracture-specific samples and reported that functional disability and comorbidities were correlated with readmission to hospital [13].

Research findings summarized in the aforementioned reviews provide some understanding of the risk of negative outcomes after hospital discharge that may have relevance to people recovering from fragility fractures. However, people recovering from fragility fractures may not have the same risk profile as those who are less frail or admitted to hospital for other health conditions. Therefore, the aim of the present study was to examine potential correlates of hospital re-presentation following fragility fractures in older adults. Specifically, the review focused on reports of patient-, clinical-, or hospital-related factors that could be identified at the time of the initial hospitalization, and re-presentation time-frames of up to 2 years after the initial hospitalization.

Methods

Design

The protocol for this systematic review and meta-analysis has previously been reported and is summarized below [14].

Data sources and searches

Databases were searched for articles in peer-reviewed, English-language journals from the onset of the databases until August 24, 2015. The literature was searched in phases. First, a comprehensive list of terms and synonyms of re-presentations, fracture, elderly, and hospital were combined with Boolean operators to formulate a search string. Second, a systematic search was conducted using the search string to identify relevant studies in four electronic databases: EMBASE, PubMed/Medline, Scopus, and CINAHL via the EBSCO interface. The search strings adapted for each database are presented in Table 1. Finally, the reference lists of included articles were searched for additional relevant studies. Studies identified through reference lists were initially assessed for relevance by study title and abstract. The results were imported into reference management software (Endnote) to manage, extract data and delete duplicate references.
Table 1

Search syntaxes customized for each database

Database

Search syntax

PubMed

(fracture[MeSH Terms]) AND (((readmi* or rehosp* or re-admi* or re-hosp* or re-presentation)) OR “Patient Readmission”[MeSH]) Filters: Aged: 65+ years

CINAHL

“fracture* AND (readmi* or rehosp* or re-admi* or re-hosp* or re-presentation) Age Groups: Aged: 65+ year

Embase

“fracture”/exp and (readmi* or rehosp* or re-admission or re-hospitalisation or re-hospitalization or re-presentation) AND ([aged]/lim OR [very elderly]/lim)

Scopus

ABS fracture* AND (readmi* OR rehosp* OR re-admission OR re-hospitalisation OR re-hospitalization or re-presentation) AND (aged OR elderly OR geriatric OR old*)

Study selection

The selection of articles consisted of three stages of screening (titles, abstracts, full text), which were conducted by SAM and EG independently of each other. A third author (SMM) arbitrated any unresolved disagreements arising during any stage in the search and screening process. Further details about the search and selection strategy were outlined in the protocol [14].

Types of studies

Quantitative studies that explored the correlates of hospital re-presentations in older adults for any time-frame within the first 2 years were eligible for inclusion. Both epidemiological (retrospective and prospective cohort studies) and experimental study designs (that also reported risk factors from analyses of participating cohorts) were eligible for inclusion. Cohort studies were classified as retrospective if the hospital re-presentations had already occurred at the time of study planning and historical cases or events were being audited. In contrast, cohort studies were classified as prospective if study planning occurred prior to the study enrolment period in which hospital re-presentations were observed. Qualitative studies and grey literature were excluded. Authors of included studies were contacted for further information.

Types of participants

Only studies that recruited older adults (mean age ≥ 65 years) who were hospitalized following fragility fractures were included. There were no sex, race, ethnicity, residential status (residential care facilities, or elsewhere in the community), or socioeconomic status restrictions for participants.

Types of outcomes

Studies that examined hospital re-presentation as an outcome were included. Studies that examined correlates of re-presentations in a general patient population but reported separate analyses for re-presentations in older adults with fragility fractures were eligible for inclusion. Outcomes of secondary interest were the number and frequency of re-presentations, the rate of re-presentations, and days since discharge to re-presentation.

Data extraction and quality assessment

Two reviewers conducted the data extraction and quality assessment independently (SAM and EG). A third reviewer (SMM) arbitrated unresolved disagreements. The data extracted included details about the participant characteristics, study design, inclusion and exclusion criteria, risk factors, primary outcomes (re-presentations), and statistical analysis. The quality of individual studies and risk of bias were assessed with the Effective Public Health Practice Project Quality Assessment Tool [15, 16]. This quality assessment tool can be widely used to rate the methodological parameters across all quantitative study designs. A best-evidence synthesis was implemented to integrate the strength of evidence of studies [17].

Data synthesis and analysis

Substantial methodological, statistical, and quality of reporting heterogeneity present in the studies was considered by the investigators to prohibit the valid pooling of effects (meta-analysis) for all potential predictors except age. Age was the only factor for which the definition and method of reporting results were somewhat similar across a pool of studies. Hence, the extracted study characteristics and results from all eligible studies were tabulated and summarized in a best evidence synthesis, and a meta-analysis was performed to obtain pooled estimates for age for re-presentations within 30 days and re-presentations after 30 days using RevMan (version 5.1, Cochrane Collaboration).

For the meta-analysis, odds ratios (ORs) were not able to be directly obtained in a consistent and easily interpretable format (e.g., estimates of effect per increasing year of age) due to differences in statistical analyses and reporting among studies that included age as a potential correlate of hospital re-presentation. To obtain ORs from each study, the following strategy was used. First, effect sizes (ORs, relative risks or hazard ratios) were extracted or calculated from original studies where possible. Because some studies reported effect sizes for age separately for different subgroups, the effect sizes for these groups were merged via inverse variance pooling before entering them into the meta-analysis. If ORs and confidence intervals (CI) were reported, these were taken directly from the studies. If ORs were reported separately for different re-presentation time periods within a study, the results were combined (with meta-clustering) to give one estimate for re-presentation within 30 days, and one estimate for re-presentation after 30 days [18]. If relative risks were reported, prevalence of the risk factors and incidence of hospital re-presentations were used to calculate ORs from available data. Rate ratios and standardized mean differences were extracted and calculated from P values to calculate ORs, where relevant. The random effects model of analysis was used to best account for heterogeneity, and tests of heterogeneity (I2) were performed. A sensitivity analysis was performed to examine the effect of removing one small study [19] with an age effect estimate for re-presentation within 30 days that fell outside the confidence ranges of any other included studies (OR estimate was considerably higher).

Results

The outcome of the study identification and selection process is outlined in Fig. 1. In summary, after the removal of 339 duplicates, a total of 430 unique studies were identified across four databases. Eighty-eight articles were deemed eligible for full text screening, of which 53 studies were excluded for not meeting the inclusion criteria. The remaining 35 studies were included in this review.
Fig. 1

Study selection flow diagram

Study characteristics

The characteristics of the included studies are described in Table 2. The review included one randomized controlled trial that reported the effect of cholecalciferol and physiotherapy on hospital readmissions, but also reported correlates of re-presentation [20]. The remaining 34 studies were retrospective cohort studies (n = 23), prospective cohort studies (n = 9), an interrupted time series study (n = 1) [21], or a combination of retrospective and prospective cohort designs (n = 1) [22]. Despite the delineation between retrospective and prospective cohort studies in this review, it is perhaps noteworthy that both types typically used information sources recorded at (or at least near) the time of the events of interest (e.g., in patient medical records). Subsequently, the authors of this review did not consider there to be a substantial difference in interpretation of the reliability of data originating from the included retrospective and prospective studies. All studies addressed risk factors for hospital readmissions; none addressed risk factors for hospital re-presentations more broadly, which could have included ED presentations without admission to hospital. Therefore, below, only factors associated with readmissions are presented.
Table 2

Characteristics of studies included in the systematic review

Author and year of publication

Country

Site

Study design

Sample characteristics

Sample size/population

Study time period

Fracture site

Basques et al. (2015) [30]

USA

370 hospitals

Retrospective cohort

>70 years

8434

2011–2012

Hip

Bischoff-Ferrari et al. (2010) [20]

Switzerland

Single hospital

Randomized controlled trial

≥65 years

173

2005–2007

Hip

Boddaert et al. (2014) [21]

France

Single hospital

Interrupted time series

≥70 years

334

2005–2012

Hip

Fox et al. (1998) [31]

USA

8 hospitals

Prospective cohort

≥65 years

306

1990–1991

Hip

French et al. (2008) [25]

USA

Veterans Health Administration Medical Centre

Retrospective cohort

≥65 years

41,331

1999–2003

Hip

Giusti et al. (2008) [32]

Italy

Single hospital

Prospective cohort

≥70 years

236

2000–2001

Hip

Golinvaux et al. (2014) [48]

USA

350 hospitals

Retrospective cohort

≥65 years

9938

2005–2012

Hip

Gregersen et al. (2011) [42]

Denmark

Single hospital

Prospective cohort

≥65 years (Nursing Home Residents)

233

2006–2010.

Hip

Hageman et al. (2014) [43]

USA

Level 1 trauma center

Retrospective cohort

Mean age > 65

890

2008–2011

Hip

Halm et al. (2003) [27]

USA

4 hospitals

Prospective cohort

Mean age > 65

559

1997–1998

Hip

Halm et al. (2003) [33]

USA

4 hospitals

Prospective cohort

Mean age > 65

551

1997–1998

Hip

Halm et al. (2004) [34]

USA

4 hospitals

Prospective cohort

Mean age > 65

550

1997–1998

Hip

Härstedt et al. (2015) [35]

Sweden

Single hospital

Prospective cohort

Mean age > 65

272

2009–2011

Hip

Heidari et al. (2012) [26]

UK

62 hospital pharmacies

Retrospective cohort

Mean age > 65

255,841

2003–2007

Hip

Heyes et al. (2015) [29]

Ireland

Single hospital

Prospective cohort

Mean age > 65

451

2010–2012

Hip

Hsaio et al. (2011) [23]

Taiwan

Health insurance database

Retrospective cohort

Mean age > 65 (women)

11,278

2001–2007

Hip/Vertebra

Intrator and. Berg (1998) [44]

USA

Medicare beneficiaries

Retrospective cohort

≥70 years

324

1987–1991

Hip

Jou et al. (2014) [24]

Taiwan

Health insurance database

Retrospective cohort

Mean age > 65 (women)

9467

2003–2006

Hip

Kates et al. (2014) [28]

USA

Level 3 trauma center

Retrospective cohort

≥65 years

1081

2005–2010

Hip

Kates et al. (2015) [49]

USA

Level 3 trauma center

Retrospective cohort

≥65 years

1081

2005–2010

Hip

Khan et al. (2012) [36]

UK

Single hospital

Retrospective cohort

Mean age > 65

467

2009–2010

Hip

Kiel et al. (1994) [45]

USA

43 nursing homes

Prospective cohort

Mean age > 65

2624

1984–1988

Hip

Le-Wendling et al. (2012) [37]

USA

Single hospital

Retrospective cohort

≥65 years

308

2006–2008

Hip

Ling et al. (2013) [19]

Singapore

Single hospital

Retrospective cohort

Mean age > 65

254

2009–2010

Hip

Merchant et al. (2005) [38]

Singapore

Single hospital

Retrospective cohort

Mean age > 65

180

2001–2001

Hip

Ottenbacher et al. (2003) [46]

USA

171 hospitals

Retrospective cohort

Mean age > 65

9956

1994–1998

Hip

Pollock et al. (2015) [50]

USA

Level 1 trauma center

Retrospective cohort

Mean age > 65

1482

2005–2012

Hip

Radcliff et al. (2008) [51]

USA

Veterans Health Administration Medical Center

Retrospective cohort

Mean age > 65

5683

1998–2003

Hip

Riggs et al. (2010) [39]

USA

Single hospital

Retrospective cohort

≥65 years

606

2004–2006

Hip

Teixeira et al. (2009) [40]

France

Single hospital

Retrospective cohort

≥70 years

5709

2005–2006

Hip

Toson et al. (2015) [53]

Australia

247 hospitals

Retrospective cohort

Mean age > 65

47,698

2001–2010

Hip

Toy et al.(2014) [41]

USA

370 hospitals

Retrospective cohort

≥65 years

850

2011–2012

Vertebra

Tsai et al. (2013) [47]

Taiwan

National Health Insurance

Retrospective cohort

≥70 years

9238

2004–2007

Vertebra

Vochteloo et al. (2011) [22]

Netherlands

450 hospitals

Retrospective and prospective cohort

≥65 years

1222

2005–2010

Hip

Zhang et al. (2014) [52]

USA

State Inpatient Database

Retrospective cohort

Mean age > 65

27,017

2005–2010

Proximal humerus

Approximately half of the studies (n = 19, 54 %) were from the United States, with the remainder conducted in France (n = 2), Singapore (n = 2), Taiwan (n = 2), or elsewhere (n = 9). Sixteen studies (46 %) specifically targeted patients aged ≥ 65 years, although all reported a mean age > 65 years. Two studies included women only [23, 24]. One study restricted the analyses to nursing home residents [25].

The sample size of studies ranged from 173 patients [20] to 255,841 patients [26]. There were two kin studies that investigated different risk factors from the same large dataset [27, 28]. The total length of the enrollment period for the studies ranged from ≤ 2 years for 15 studies [27, 2941], 3–5 years for eight studies [20, 22, 2426, 4247], 6–8 years for eight studies [21, 23, 28, 30, 4852], and up to 10 years for one study [53]. This review focused on findings reported for re-presentations within the first 2 years after the index hospital event. Specifically, the observed timeframe for hospital re-presentations for findings reported in this review extended from 7 days to 18 months after the index hospital event [24, 31]. Hip fracture was the most common fracture site (n = 32 studies) [2040, 4246, 4851, 53]. Two studies examined patients with vertebral fractures, and one study examined patients with proximal humerus fractures [41, 47, 52].

Risk factors associated with re-presentations

The risk factors for hospital re-presentations that were examined are listed in Table 3 by shortest to longest observation time-frame after the index event in which re-presentation may have occurred. Most studies examined correlates of readmission within 30 days of the index event (i.e., 30 days since the initial hospital discharge (n = 8), an operation (n = 6), or admission to a nursing home (n = 1)). Other studies examined correlates within 60 days (n = 3), 90 days (n = 3), 6 months (n = 2), and 1 year (n = 7) from the index event. Two studies used multiple follow-up periods [24, 47]. For the purpose of this synthesis, correlates were categorized into patient characteristics and other clinical or hospital indicators.
Table 3

Reported associations between patient or clinical characteristics with risk of hospital re-presentations

Study

Patient characteristics

Association

Clinical/service characteristics

Association

Percentage of re-presentations

Readmission a within 30 days

Readmission within 7 days from discharge

Tsai (2013) [47]

Hospitalization for all reasons

OR = 0.48 (0.32–0.72)

Not investigated

 

Hospitalization for all reasons: 3.44 %

Fracture related diagnoses

OR = 0.28 (0.12–0.68)

Fracture related diagnoses: 0.69 %

Musculoskeletal disorder

OR = 0.08 (0.01–0.88)

Musculoskeletal disorders: 0.20 %

Hospitalization for other diagnoses

OR = 0.67 (0.41–1.09)

Hospitalization for other diagnoses: 2.55 %

Readmission within 14 days from discharge

Jou et al. (2014) [24]

14 days:

 

14 days: Medical center

Referent

50–74 y (3.21 %)

Age < 75 Age ≥ 75

Referent

Regional hospital

District hospital

HR = 1.56 (1.08–2.25)

HR = 1.36 (1.08–1.71)

HR = 4.47 (3.20–6.26)

14 days:

CCI score 0

CCI score ≥ 2

 

LOS

≤10 days

≥11 days

 

≥75 y (4.16 %)

Referent

Referent

HR = 1.52 (1.22–1.92)

HR = 0.25 (0.19–0.34)

14 days: Geographic regions

 

Northern

Central

Southern

Eastern

Referent

HR = 1.21 (0.89–1.64)

HR = 1.17 (0.89–1.54)

HR = 0.96 (0.47–1.96)

Readmission within 28 days from discharge

Khan et al. (2012) [36]

Age

OR = 1.06 (1.02–1.10)

Not investigated

 

11 %

Diabetes

OR = 3.34 (1.54–7.25)

History of neurological disorders

OR = 5.66 (2.79–11.47)

Admission other than home

OR = 2.36 (1.19–4.66)

Readmission within 30 days from discharge

Boddaert et al. (2014) [21]

CIRS score

RR = 1.08 (1.00–1.16)

Intervention vs. control group

RR = 0.40 (0.23–0.70)

Orthopedic group (usual care) = 17 %

Age

RR = 0.99 (0.95–1.03)

  

Geriatric group (intervention) = 5 %

Male sex

RR = 0.76 (0.41–1.41)

French et al. (2008) [25]

Chronic heart failure

OR = 1.24 (1.16–1.33)

Inpatient LOS

OR = 1.01 (1.01–1.02)

18 %

Cardiac arrhythmias

OR = 1.11 (1.04–1.17)

30 % occurred in the first week

Other neurological disorder

OR = 1.15 (1.05–1.26)

60 % within 2 weeks

Chronic pulmonary disease

OR = 1.33 (1.25–1.40)

81 % within 3 weeks

Diabetes mellitus without chronic

complication

 

OR = 1.32 (1.15–1.52)

Renal failure

OR = 1.43 (1.29–1.60)

Coagulopathy

OR = 1.33 (1.16–1.52)

Weight loss

OR = 1.24 (1.07–1.44)

Fluid and electrolyte disorders

OR = 1.11 (1.04–1.20)

Deficiency anemia

OR = 1.16 (1.09–1.25)

Alcohol abuse

OR = 0.86 (0.75–0.98)

Psychosis

OR = 1.16 (1.00–1.34)

Depression

OR = 1.06 (0.95–1.18)

Heidari et al. (2012) [26]

Not investigated

 

Hospital drug policy for chemical thromboprophylaxis

 

55 %

Aspirin

OR = 1.03 (0.87–1.23)

Heparin drug policy

OR = 1.06 (0.97–1.16)

Low-dose heparin

OR = 1.09 (0.93–1.28)

Jou et al. (2014) [24]

30 days:

 

30 days: Medical center

Referent

50–74 y (3.21 %) ≥75 y (4.87 %)

Age < 75 Age ≥ 75

Referent

Regional hospital

District hospital

HR = 1.51 (1.10-2.09)

HR = 1.34 (1.07–1.62)

HR = 3.82 (2.83–5.14)

30 days:

 

LOS

 

CCI score 0

CCI score ≥ 2

Referent

≤10 days

≥11 days

Referent

HR = 1.60 (1.30–1.97)

HR = 0.32 (0.25–0.41)

30 days: Geographical regions

 

Northern

Central

Southern

Eastern

Referent

HR = 1.25 (0.94–1.67)

HR = 1.20 (0.93–1.54)

HR = 1.00 (0.52–1.92)

Kates et al. (2014) [28]

Age > 85

OR = 1.52 (1.02–2.26)

Time to surgery > 24 h

OR = 1.50 (1.00–2.25)

11 %

CCI ≥ 4

OR = 1.70 (1.02–2.81)

Delirium

OR = 1.65 (1.13–2.40)

Dementia

OR = 1.61 (1.12–2.33)

History of arrhythmia with pacemaker

OR = 1.75 (1.11–2.76)

Placement presence of a pre-op arrhythmia

OR = 1.62 (1.09–2.39)

Partial or complete disability with ADL

OR = 1.54 (1.05–2.26)

Kates et al. (2015) [49]

Age > 85

OR = 1.58 (1.02–2.26)

Not investigated

 

11.9 %

Male

OR = 1.49 (1.00–2.24)

Assisted living

OR = 1.52 (0.82–2.59)

Skilled nursing

OR = 1.24 (0.84–1.85)

Parker mobility medium (5–8)

OR = 1.81 (0.98–3.35)

Parker mobility low (0–4)

OR = 1.50 (0.85–2.64)

Charlson score medium (2–3)

OR = 1.51 (1.03–2.25)

Charlson score high (4 or more)

OR = 1.65 (1.00–2.74)

Partial or complete disability

OR = 1.51 (1.03–2.25)

Delirium

OR = 1.66 (1.14–2.41)

Preoperative arrhythmia

OR = 1.62 (1.09–2.39)

Hematoma

OR = 7.51 (0.47–1.21)

Urinary tract infection

OR = 1.84 (0.39–8.84)

Pacemaker

OR = 1.75 (1.11–2.76)

Diabetes

OR = 1.91 (1.22–2.99)

Dementia

OR = 1.61 (1.12–2.22)

GERD

OR = 1.44 (0.99–2.10)

Cardiac disease

OR = 1.02 (0.66–1.59)

Alcoholism

OR = 1.12 (0.46–2.68)

Tobacco use

OR = 0.99 (0.56–1.73)

Le-Wendling et al. (2012) [37]

Not investigated

 

Local vs. general anesthetic

OR = 2.0 (1.0-4.0)

19 %

Pollock et al. (2015) [50]

Pre-existing pulmonary disease

OR = 1.88 (1.30–2.72)

Discharge to skilled nursing facility

OR = 1.5 (1.04–2.14)

9 %

Hospital LOS > 8 days

OR = 1.88 (1.30–2.72)

Toson et al. (2015) [53]

Myocardial infarction

OR = 1.1 (1.0–1.2)

Not investigated

 

16 %

Congestive heart failure

OR = 1.2 (1.1–1.3)

Peripheral vascular disease

OR = 1.2 (1.0–1.3)

Cerebrovascular accident

OR = 1.1 (1.0–1.2)

Dementia

OR = 0.8 (0.8–0.9)

Chronic pulmonary disease

OR = 1.1 (1.0–1.2)

Connective tissue disorder

OR = 1.2 (1.0–1.4)

Peptic ulcer

OR = 1.2 (1.0–1.5)

Mild liver disease

OR = 1.3 (1.0–1.7)

Diabetes without chronic

complications

 

OR = 1.1 (1.0–1.2)

Diabetes with chronic complications

OR = 1.2 (1.1–1.3)

Hemiplegic or paraplegia

OR = 0.9 (0.8–1.1)

Renal disease

OR = 1.3 (1.2–1.5)

Any malignancy

OR = 1.4 (1.2–1.6)

Metastatic solid tumor

OR = 1.1 (0.9–1.4)

Moderate or severe liver disease

OR = 5.0 (3.3–7.5)

Readmission within 30 days post-operative

Basques et al. (2015) [30]

Age ≥ 90

OR = 1.35 (1.09–1.67)

Discharge to a facility

OR = 1.42 (1.08–1.86)

10 %

Male

OR = 1.40 (1.20–1.63)

ASA class 3

OR = 1.40 (1.09–1.69)

BMI ≥ 35

OR = 1.73 (1.24–2.44)

ASA class 4

OR = 1.90 (1.44–2.51)

History of pulmonary disease

OR = 1.46 (1.22–1.75)

  

Hypertension

OR = 1.21 (1.02–1.45)

Steroid use

OR = 1.38 (1.04–1.83)

Partially dependent functional status

OR = 1.31 (1.11–1.54)

Fully dependent functional status

OR = 1.41 (1.01–1.97)

Golinvaux (2014) [48]

Non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus

 

Not investigated

 

Without diabetes = 5 %, Non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus = 7 %,

 

RR = 1.4 (1.0–2.0)

  

Insulin dependent diabetes mellitus = 7 %

Insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus

RR = 1.4 (0.9–2.2)

Hageman et al. (2014) [43]

CCI and age

OR = 1.1, P < 0.01, R2 = 0.03

Not investigated

 

2 % readmitted without surgical adverse event

4 % readmitted with surgical adverse event

Ling et al. (2013) [19]

Age 60–70

Referent

Not investigated

 

9 %

Age 70–80

OR = 1.60 (0.31–8.22)

Age 80–90

OR = 3.91 (0.83–18.4)

Age > 90

OR = 7.21 (1.28–40.65)

Female

Referent

Male

OR = 0.75 (0.27–2.10)

Intertrochanteric

OR = 0.84 (0.36–1.95)

Comorbidity = 0

Referent

Comorbidity > 1

OR = 0.73 (0.26–2.04)

Comorbidity > 2

OR = 0.48 (0.10–2.26)

Comorbidity > 3

OR = 1.53 (0.45–5.19)

Renal failure

OR = 2.49 (0.50–12.4)

Serum albumin

OR = 2.09 (0.69–6.36)

Serum iPTH

OR = 1.01 (0.42–2.47)

Vitamin D deficiency

OR = 1.00 (0.43–2.33)

Euthyroid

Referent

Overt hypothyroidism

OR = 1.75 (0.35–8.89)

Thyroid dysfunction

OR = 1.19 (0.47–3.03)

Subclinical hypothyroidism

OR = 0.44 (0.05–3.54)

Radcliff (2008) [51]

White race

OR = 1.32

Plate/screw (CPT 27244)

OR = 1.26

7 %

Age 65–74

Referent

Open reduction (CPT 27236)

OR = 1.13

Age 75–84

OR = 1.17

Hemiarthroplasty (CPT 27125)

OR = 1.30

Age ≥ 85

OR = 0.95

Percutaneous fixation (CPT 27235)

OR = 1.05

Currently smoking

OR = 0.94

Intramedullary implant (CPT 27245)

OR = 0.92

Alcohol use (>2 drinks/day)

OR = 1.29

General anesthesia

OR = 0.97

Partial independence

OR = 1.04

Blood transfusion (1 U)

OR = 1.01

Total independence

OR = 0.70

Surgery 4 days after admission

OR = 0.70

Impaired sensorium

OR = 1.67

Weekend surgery

OR = 1.15

Renal insufficiency

OR = 1.46

Wound not “clean”

OR = 1.44

Steroid use

OR = 1.10

Emergency admission

OR = 0.74

Disseminated cancer

OR = 0.87

ASA class 3

OR = 1.38

Congestive heart failure

OR = 1.28

ASA class 4 or 5

OR = 1.60

Dementia

OR = 0.75

Diabetes

OR = 1.09

Hemiplegia

OR = 1.02

Severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

OR = 1.24

Recent weight loss

OR = 0.99

Hyponatremia

OR = 1.73

Toy et al. (2014) [41]

History of pulmonary disease

OR = 2.0

Inpatient status before procedure

OR = 1.9

10.8 %

Tsai (2013) [47]

Hospitalization for all reasons

OR = 0.74 (0.59–0.93)

Not investigated

 

Hospitalization for all reasons: 14.73 %

Fracture related diagnoses

OR = 0.69 (0.45–1.05)

Fracture-related diagnoses: 3.73 %

Musculoskeletal disorders

OR = 0.60 (0.37–0.98)

Musculoskeletal disorders: 2.36 %

Hospitalization for other diagnoses

OR = 0.83 (0.62–1.12)

Hospitalization for other diagnoses: 9.23 %

Readmission to hospital within 30 days of admission to nursing home

Kiel et al. (1994) [45]

Age 74–85

OR = 0.58 (0.40–0.83)

Not investigated

 

12.4 %

Age > 85

OR = 0.55 (0.38–0.80)

Secondary neurological diagnoses

OR = 0.75 (0.56–1.00)

Living with someone

OR = 1.44 (1.12–1.87)

Any dependency in ADLs

OR = 1.45 (1.08–1.93)

Ability to walk

OR = 1.54 (1.16–2.05)

Readmission >30 days

Readmission to hospital within 60 days from discharge

Halm et al. (2003) [27]

Active clinical issue in the 24 h before discharge

OR = 1.6 (1.0–2.6)

Not investigated

 

18.8 %

New impairment in the 24 h before discharge

OR = 1.7 (1.2–2.3)

Halm et al. (2003) [33]

Transfusion when Hb < 10.0 g/dL

OR = 0.52 (0.28–0.97)

  

16.9 %

Halm et al. (2004) [34]

Hb on admission

OR = 0.69 (0.49–0.95)

Not investigated

 

16.9 %

Hb lowest preoperative

OR = 0.65 (0.48–0.89)

Hb lowest postoperative

OR = 0.78 (0.64–0.95)

Readmission within 80 and 180 days

Ottenbacher et al. (2003) [46]

Age

Beta = 0.943, SEM = 0.374, LR = 3.51

Not investigated

 

16.7 %

Ethnicity × gender

Beta = 0.012, SEM = 0.005, LR = 2.54

FIM rating

Beta = −0.825, SEM = 0.293, LR = 4.86

Readmission within 90 days from discharge

Vochteloo et al. (2011) [22]

Age

OR = 0.97 (0.94-0.99)

ASA

OR = 1.43 (0.99–2.09)

Anemic group 12.9 %, Non-anemic group 9.0 %

Anemia

RR = 1.24 (1.04–1.49)

General anesthesia

OR = 0.35 (0.13–0.99)

Readmission 90 days from surgery

Zhang et al. (2014) [52]

Male

HR = 0.77 (0.72–0.83)

Hemiarthroplasty

HR = 0.77 (0.71–0.83)

90 day readmission rate = 14 %

African-American race

HR = 1.22 (1.02–1.46)

RTSA

HR = 0.82 (0.67–0.99)

15 % for open reduction-internal fixation and RTSA

Medical comorbidities (per diagnosis)

HR = 1.20 (1.18–1.22)

 

13 % for hemiarthroplasty

Insurance with Medicaid

HR = 1.27 (1.08–1.49)

Private insurance

HR = 0.82 (0.74–0.91)

Discharge status – home with services

HR = 1.19 (1.07–1.32)

Transfer to facility nursing or rehab

HR = 1.99 (0.82–2.18)

Gregersen et al. (2011) [42]

Postop Hb levels ≤ 6 mmol/L

OR = 3.24 (1.15–9.14)

Intervention care

OR = 0.47 (0.23–0.94)

14 % intervention care

Age

OR = 2.98 (1.08–8.21)

26 % standard care

Readmission within 180 days from surgery

Tsai (2013) [47]

Hospitalization for all reasons

OR = 0.93 (0.78–1.38)

Not investigated

 

Hospitalization for all reasons: 38.31 %

Fracture related diagnoses

OR = 0.90 (0.67–1.21)

Fracture related diagnoses: 9.14 %

Musculoskeletal disorders

OR = 1.03 (0.77–1.38)

Musculoskeletal disorders: 9.43 %

Hospitalization for other diagnoses

OR = 0.93 (0.77–1.13)

Hospitalization for other diagnoses: 26.72 %

Readmissions within 6 months from discharge

Härstedt et al. (2015) [35]

Hypertension

OR = 2.0 (1.2–1.9)

Not investigated

 

32 %

Atrial Fibrillation

OR = 0.80 (0.40–1.61)

  

73 % were admitted once only

Myocardial infarction

OR = 0.70 (0.30–1.64)

Angina pectoris

OR = 0.49 (0.19–1.26)

Heart failure

OR = 0.69 (0.29–1.61)

Pacemaker

OR = 6.64 (1.68–26.33)

Valvular heart disease

OR = 0.87 (0.17–4.60)

Syncope

OR = 0.99 (0.36–2.71)

Stroke

OR = 0.66 (0.31–1.40)

Pulmonary embolism/deep vein thrombosis

OR = 2.72 (0.80–9.24)

Peripheral vascular disease

OR = 1.01 (0.33–3.08)

Parkinson’s disease

OR = 1.32 (0.32–5.70)

Epilepsy

OR = 0.26 (0.03–2.15)

Cognitive disorder (dementia)

OR = 1.68 (0.94–3.01)

Depression

OR = 1.54 (0.63–3.78)

Diabetes mellitus

OR = 0.64 (0.29–1.42)

Thyroid disease

OR = 1.47 (0.70–3.12)

Respiratory disease (COPD)

OR = 0.98 (0.42–2.26)

Malignancy

OR = 1.16 (0.57–2.37)

Autoimmune disorders

OR = 2.30 (0.87–6.10)

Prostate tumor (men)

OR = 4.99 (0.92–27.18)

Previous fracture

OR = 1.70 (0.86–3.36)

Osteoporosis

OR = 0.30 (0.07–1.40)

Diseases in the kidney and urinary

tract

 

OR = 1.72 (0.57–5.16)

Anemia

OR = 1.19 (0.43–3.32)

ASA classification per one grade

OR = 1.67 (0.99–2.80)

Riggs et al. (2010) [39]

Discharge to rehabilitation

Standard coeff −0.095 (−0.102 to −0.11)

LOS 75th quartile ≥ 9 days)

Standard coefficient 0.151 (0.044–0.141)

8.3 %

Any days in Intensive Care Unit

Standard coefficient 0.168 (0.097–0.271)

Readmission after 12 months from discharge

Bischoff- Ferrari (2010) [20]

  

2000- vs. 800-IU/d dosage of cholecalciferol

Relative rate different, −39 % (−62 % to −1 %)

70 % had 1 readmission, 22 % had 2 readmissions and 7 % had 3 readmissions

Efficacy analysis: 2000 IU/d dose

Relative rate different, −55 % (−79 % to −2 %)

Giusti et al. (2008) [32]

Age 76–85

OR = 0.77 (0.29–2.01)

Not investigated

 

30.1 %

Age > 85

OR = 0.46 (0.16–1.29)

CIRS-SI 1.5–1.9

OR = 5.95 (1.66–21.3)

CIRS-SI > 1.9

OR = 7.05 (1.68–29.7)

2 month ADL Katz Index 0–2

OR = 3.02 (1.09–8.32)

Heyes et al. (2015) [29]

Female

OR = 1.34 (0.65–2.76)

Time to surgery 36 h to 6 days

OR = 1.62 (0.156–2.44)

44 %

Cephalomedullary nail

OR = 1.51 (0.40–1.08)

>6 days

OR = 1.29 (0.198–3.02)

Hip hemiarthroplasty/THR

OR = 3.10 (0.19–1.80)

Inpatient stay > 7 days

OR = 3.13 (0.12 –0.62)

Moderate alcoholic

OR = 1.36 (0.31–1.73)

Inpatient stay of 7–14 days

OR = 7.04 (0.05 –0.34)

Alcoholic

OR = 1.52 (0.26–1.66)

Inpatient stay of 14–21 days

OR = 2.90 (0.18 –0.64)

Affected side-right

OR = 1.10 (0.57–1.45)

Inpatient stay of 21–28 days

OR = 1.83 (0.25–0.16)

Ex-smoker

OR = 1.14 (0.64–2.00)

Inpatient stay of 28–35 days

OR = 2.11 (0.19–1.17)

Smoker

OR = 1.24 (0.56–2.72)

ASA score > 2

OR = 3.68 (0.06–1.15)

Residential care/nursing home residence

OR = 1.71 (1.34–1.98)

ASA score > 3

OR = 1.95 (0.17–1.48)

ASA score > 4

OR = 2.14 (0.16–1.33)

Hb > 2 g/dL drop

OR = 1.29 (0.48–1.24)

Transfusion status < 2 units

OR = 1.12 (0.31–4.00)

Admission glucose > 7.8 mmol/L

OR = 1.18 (0.66–2.09)

Transfusion status > 2 units

OR = 1.85 (0.48–7.04)

Discharge glucose > 7.8 mmol/L

OR = 1.05 (0.53–1.70)

Total protein

OR = 1.13 (0.53–1.46)

Admission eGFR < 45

OR = 1.04 (0.50–1.83)

Discharge eGFR < 45

OR = 1.04 (0.47–1.96)

Hsaio et al. (2011) [23]

Long-term use of alendronate reduces risk

HR = 0.27 (0.15–0.78)

Not investigated

 

8.6 % cases untreated cohort; 6.3 % alendronate users; 7.6 % other anti organophosphorous drug users

Intrator et al. (1998) [44]

Home healthcare usage

OR = 0.77 (0.52–1.15)

Not investigated

 

Rehab only group 34.1 % Rehab and home health group 27.2 %

Jou et al. (2014) [24]

1 year:

 

1 year: District hospital

HR = 2.24 (1.82–2.75)

50–74 y (6.02 %)

Age < 75

Age ≥ 75

Referent

LOS

 

≥75 y (8.38 %)

HR = 1.46 (1.24–1.73)

≤10 days

≥11 days

Referent

1 year: CCI = 0

CCI score ≥ 2

Referent

HR = 0.51 (0.43–0.60)

HR = 1.28 (1.09–1.51)

1 year: Geographic regions

 

Northern

Central

Southern

Eastern

Referent

HR = 1.12 (0.90–1.39)

HR = 1.07 (0.88–1.29)

HR = 0.89 (0.54–1.46)

Merchant (2005) [38]

Post-operative complications

After adjustment for potential covariates the presence of postoperative complications was not significant (P > 0.05, coefficients not presented)

Not investigated

 

31.7 %

Teixeira et al. (2009) [40]

Male (predicts related first readmission)

HR = 1.25 (1.08–1.46)

Teaching hospital vs. public hospital (predicts related first readmission)

 

32 %

Male

HR = 1.36 (1.16–1.59)

HR = 0.86 (0.79–0.95)

Increasing age (predicts unrelated first readmission)

HR = 0.94 (0.89–0.99)

Index stay in a private hospital

HR = 0.78 (0.67–0.9)

Cancer

HR = 1.41 (1.03–1.94)

Teaching hospital (predicts unrelated first readmission)

HR = 0.87 (0.79–0.95)

Kidney disease

HR = 1.38 (1.00–1.90)

Dementia (predicts related first readmission)

HR = 1.21 (1.01–1.46)

Dementia (predicts unrelated first readmission)

HR = 0.68 (0.53–0.87)

Readmission within 18 months from discharge

Fox et al. (1998) [31]

Performance on balance tests at 2 months post fracture

Beta = −0.155, P= 0.01

   

Gait score

Beta = −0.013, P = 0.83

Mobility score

Beta = −0.098, P = 0.11

CCI, Charlson comorbidity index; CIRS, Cumulative illness rating scale – severity index; ASA, American Society of Anesthesiologists score; LOS, length of stay; ADL, activities of daily living; FIM, functional independence measure; CM, conservative treatment; RTSA, reverse total shoulder arthroplasty; Hb, hemoglobin; HR, hazards ratio; OR, odds ratio; LR, likelihood ratio; RR, relative risk

aThe term readmission is being used as the studies have reported on hospital readmissions rather than hospital re-presentations

Bold text indicates a significant association (p <0.05)

Patient characteristics

Patient characteristics that were investigated as possible risk factors were age, gender, physical function, and level of independence with daily living. Seven of the 14 studies that investigated age reported a significant positive association [19, 21, 24, 28, 30, 36, 49]. Six studies examined the effect of male sex on subsequent hospital readmission, and three found male sex to be a risk factor of readmission [25, 30, 40]. Two studies reported being aged > 75 years and receiving treatment from a regional hospital for the index hospital event as predictors of hospital readmissions at 14 days, 30 days, and 1 year after the index event [24, 47]. A study that examined predictors of hospital readmissions within 1 year of discharge identified male gender and increasing age as risk factors of hospital readmissions [40]. Four out of five studies that examined the Cumulative Illness Rating Score (CIRS) identified that a CIRS score > 2 was predictive of hospital readmission [21, 24, 28, 32]. Five studies that investigated residential status of patients after the index hospital event found a positive correlation between discharge to a nursing home and 30-day risk of hospital readmission [29, 30, 36, 45, 50].

Physical and mental health comorbidities were also examined as potential risk factors for readmissions; there was, however, a considerable variation in the comorbidities investigated. Eight studies examined the association between cardiovascular disease and hospital readmission: five of the studies found a positive association [25, 28, 30, 49, 50]. Eight studies examined the association between diabetes and readmission. Three of these studies reported a significant positive association [25, 36, 49], but two that only included surgical cases did not find an association. Two of the five studies that investigated renal insufficiencies and kidney diseases as predictors of readmission reported significant positive associations [25, 51]. One of the three studies that examined post-surgical anemia and one of the four studies that specifically examined hemoglobin (Hb) reported a significant positive association (Hb < 6 mmol/L) with hospital readmission within 90 days [42]. One study identified cancer and dementia as comorbidities at the index event to be predictive of hospital readmission within a year [40]. One study examined body mass index (BMI) and reported that patients with a BMI > 35 were at an elevated risk of being readmitted to hospital after discharge [30]. Among the cognitive disorders, dementia was the most common comorbidity examined and was positively associated with readmissions in three of the six studies in which it was investigated [28, 40, 49].

In total, comorbidities were significant risk factors and reasons for hospital readmission in 20 studies. The most common comorbidities identified were myocardial infarction (n = 9) [25, 28, 35, 36, 40, 41, 48, 51, 53], pulmonary embolism (n = 7) [25, 28, 3941, 51, 53], urinary tract infection (n = 6) [36, 38, 41, 48, 50, 51], pneumonia (n = 9) [20, 29, 36, 38, 41, 42, 48, 50, 51], sepsis (n = 5) [20, 36, 41, 48, 51], and renal failure (n = 4) [36, 41, 48, 53]. Other frequent reasons for readmission included surgical complications (n = 6) [28, 40, 41, 43, 50, 52], re-fractures (n = 5) [24, 28, 42, 50], and falls (n = 3) [35, 36, 38].

Other clinical and hospital indicators

A range of other clinical and hospital factors were examined. Length of stay in hospital served as a predictor of re-presentation in six studies; of these, five studies reported that a longer length of stay increased the risk of subsequent hospital readmissions [24, 25, 29, 50]. An American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) score > 3 was positively associated with risk of hospital readmission [30] in one of the four studies in which it was investigated. In another study, surgical delay of 24 hours or more was associated with readmission [28]. One study observed that older adults admitted into a geriatric unit managed by a multidisciplinary team had lower risk of hospital readmission and improved walking ability [21].

Quality assessment

Findings from the quality assessment of the studies are presented in Table 4. The global rating score for most studies (n = 17; 48 %) was in the ‘moderate’ category. However, the quality of 11 of the 35 studies (31 %) was classified as ‘strong’. All 11 strong studies examined patients with hip fractures. Another seven studies (7 %), which examined older adults with hip fractures, received a score of ‘weak’. The weaknesses most frequently identified were a failure to report drop outs or withdrawals, a lack of clear explanation about data collection processes, and inadequate descriptions of how potential confounders were controlled for.
Table 4

Quality assessment classifications from the Effective Public Health Practice Project Quality Assessment Tool

Lead author

Year

Selection bias

Study design

Confounder

Blinding

Data collection

Dropouts & withdrawals

Global rating

Basques

2015 [30]

Moderate

Moderate

Moderate

Moderate

Strong

Weak

Moderate

Bischoff-Ferrari

2010 [20]

Weak

Strong

Strong

Strong

Moderate

Strong

Strong

Boddaert

2014 [21]

Moderate

Moderate

Strong

Moderate

Strong

Strong

Strong

Fox

1998 [31]

Weak

Moderate

Weak

Moderate

Strong

Weak

Weak

French

2008 [25]

Moderate

Moderate

Weak

Moderate

Strong

Strong

Moderate

Giusti

2008 [32]

Strong

Moderate

Weak

Moderate

Strong

Strong

Moderate

Golinvaux

2014 [48]

Moderate

Moderate

Strong

Moderate

Strong

Strong

Strong

Gregersen

2011 [42]

Moderate

Moderate

Strong

Moderate

Strong

Strong

Strong

Hageman

2014 [43]

Moderate

Moderate

Weak

Moderate

Strong

Weak

Weak

Halm

2003 [27]

Strong

Moderate

Strong

Moderate

Strong

Strong

Strong

Halm

2003 [33]

Strong

Moderate

Strong

Moderate

Strong

Strong

Strong

Halm

2004 [34]

Strong

Moderate

Strong

Moderate

Strong

Strong

Strong

Härstedt

2015 [35]

Strong

Moderate

Weak

Moderate

Strong

Strong

Moderate

Heyes

2015 [29]

Moderate

Moderate

Weak

Moderate

Strong

Moderate

Moderate

Heidari

2012 [26]

Moderate

Moderate

Strong

Moderate

Strong

Weak

Moderate

Hsaio

2011 [23]

Moderate

Moderate

Strong

Moderate

Weak

Weak

Weak

Intrator

1998 [44]

Weak

Moderate

Strong

Moderate

Strong

Strong

Weak

Jou

2014 [24]

Moderate

Moderate

Strong

Moderate

Weak

Weak

Weak

Kates

2014 [28]

Moderate

Moderate

Weak

Moderate

Strong

Strong

Moderate

Kates

2015 [49]

Moderate

Moderate

Weak

Moderate

Strong

Strong

Moderate

Khan

2012 [36]

Moderate

Moderate

Weak

Moderate

Strong

Moderate

Moderate

Kiel

1994 [45]

Moderate

Moderate

Weak

Moderate

Strong

Strong

Moderate

Le-Wendling

2012 [37]

Moderate

Moderate

Strong

Moderate

Weak

Strong

Moderate

Ling

2013 [19]

Moderate

Moderate

Moderate

Moderate

Strong

Weak

Moderate

Merchant

2005 [38]

Moderate

Moderate

Moderate

Moderate

Strong

Strong

Strong

Ottenbacher

2003 [46]

Moderate

Moderate

Weak

Moderate

Strong

Moderate

Moderate

Pollock

2015 [50]

Moderate

Moderate

Weak

Moderate

Strong

Weak

Weak

Radcliff

2008 [51]

Moderate

Moderate

Strong

Moderate

Strong

Strong

Strong

Riggs

2010 [39]

Moderate

Moderate

Moderate

Moderate

Strong

Weak

Moderate

Teixeira

2009 [40]

Moderate

Moderate

Moderate

Moderate

Strong

Strong

Strong

Toson

2015 [53]

Moderate

Moderate

Moderate

Moderate

Strong

Moderate

Strong

Toy

2014 [41]

Moderate

Moderate

Weak

Moderate

Strong

Strong

Moderate

Tsai

2013 [47]

Moderate

Moderate

Strong

Moderate

Weak

Weak

Moderate

Vochteloo

2011 [22]

Moderate

Moderate

Strong

Moderate

Strong

Weak

Moderate

Zhang

2014 [52]

Moderate

Moderate

Weak

Moderate

Moderate

Weak

Weak

Best-evidence synthesis

Eleven studies met the inclusion criteria for high quality studies. In accordance with the global rating scale, these studies had no ‘weak’ ratings in any sub-domain (Table 4). Five of these studies (45 % of high quality studies) reported at least one statistically significant risk factor of hospital readmission that was identifiable at the index admission [21, 27, 40, 42, 53]. Among the patient factors associated with readmission in these five studies, age was positively associated with hospital readmission in one study [21]. One study each out of the 11 high quality studies identified male sex, lower post-operative Hb level, and higher CIRS score at index admission to have positive associations with hospital re-presentations [21, 40, 42]. Comorbidities that were significantly associated with hospital re-presentations in these studies included impaired sensorium, renal insufficiencies, asthma, chronic liver disease, dementia, cancer, ‘new impairments’ on discharge, adverse effects of glucocorticoids, and androgen therapy [21, 27, 40, 42, 51]. In summary, of the 11 high quality studies (31 % of all included studies), five provided evidence of statistically significant findings, and the correlates that were significant varied among studies.

Meta-analysis

The meta-analysis indicated age was associated with increased risk of hospital readmission both within a 30-day time-frame and beyond a 30-day time-frame (Fig. 2), with the 95 % CIs of the pooled effect estimate not inclusive of 1.00. The random-effects pooled OR was 1.27 (95 % CI, 1.14–1.43) for the effect of age on the risk of hospital readmission within 30 days (Fig. 2a). However, a large amount of heterogeneity (I2 = 98 %) in study effect size estimates was observed. The random-effects pooled OR was 1.23 (95 % CI, 1.01–1.50) for the effect of age on the risk of hospital readmission > 30 days (Fig. 2b). The heterogeneity was also large (I2 = 94 %) among studies reporting hospital readmission > 30 days. The sensitivity analysis indicated that the removal of the small study [19] with an outlying effect estimate had no difference on the pooled effect estimate (Fig. 2c) and had a negligible effect on overall heterogeneity (I2 = 97 %). It is noteworthy that the calculations that were required to determine pooled effect estimates from studies with disparate analysis and reporting approaches resulted in pooled ORs that cannot be interpreted as simple effects per increasing year of age. However, the findings of an increasing risk with age, the demonstrated significance at a 95 % CI, and the substantial variation in reported effect among studies were noteworthy findings from the meta-analysis.
Fig. 2

Forest plot of age as a predictor of hospital re-presentation within 30 days (a), after 30 days (b), and sensitivity analysis (c) (within 30 days)

Discussion

There are a number of useful inferences and research priorities that can be drawn from the findings reported in this review. A key finding was that age was the most frequently investigated risk factor for hospital readmission. The meta-analysis confirmed age as a predictor of hospital re-presentations both within 30 days and for re-presentations occurring after 30 days. Although age is not modifiable, interventions that target high-risk older adults before they leave hospital have been cost-effective in reducing undesirable outcomes, and it has been suggested that there may be some utility for these interventions to be offered to older people recovering from fragility fractures [54, 55]. An important consideration for future research investigating age as a predictor of hospital re-presentations may be to consider the linearity of the effect of age on risk of re-presentation to hospital. The risk of readmission may not increase uniformly with increasing age in years, but rather, there may be an accelerating increase in risk of readmission with advancing age among people recovering from fragility fractures. However, further research is required to confirm or refute this hypothesis in the context of older adults recovering from fragility fractures.

There was a high degree of variation (methodologies, reporting quality, and results) across studies reporting other potential risk factors. A salient finding from this review was that studies with a high quality rating reported the following factors, which were identified at the index admission, to be significant predictors of re-presentation to hospital: higher CIRS, ASA > 3, cardiovascular diseases, low post-operative Hb, kidney diseases, dementia, and cancer [21, 27, 40, 42, 51]. Other potential predictors identified from studies with a moderate quality rating included anemia, neurological disorders, delirium, renal failure, diabetes, longer length of stay, and being discharged to a residential nursing care facility [22, 25, 28, 36]. Like age, many of these risk factors are likely to be difficult to modify in the context of clinical care during a hospitalization. However, they may prove useful for guiding the delivery of appropriate (and potentially targeted) care models to offset this risk. Co-morbidities and length of stay, which were reported as potential risk indicators in the present review, are generally consistent with research among other clinical populations [13, 56, 57]. This is a useful finding, so far as it implies that interventions to reduce re-presentations that have been successful among other clinical populations are worthy of consideration for adaptation and evaluation, specifically among patients with fragility fractures.

It was interesting to note that no factor that was investigated in multiple studies was consistently associated with readmission in all studies in which it was investigated. This observation of inconsistency among studies for the same risk factor may seem innocuous, but in actuality highlights one of the key challenges in the field. The inconsistency may be attributable to genuine variation in risk factors between populations and dissimilar health services; however, it may be attributable to methodological and reporting inconsistencies among studies that may have contributed to seemingly incongruent findings. This review has highlighted the extent of these inconsistencies among studies in a systematic way for the first time and should act as a call to reduce unnecessary variation between health services and research methodologies in this field.

Perhaps of even greater importance than potential inconsistencies in findings was the gap in the literature revealed in this systematic review. Specifically, a novel finding was that no study was identified that had examined risk factors for re-presentation to ED without hospital admission. Older adults disproportionately consume ED resources and have been reported to account for 20 % of presentations to EDs [58, 59]. This absence of studies examining re-presentations to EDs without admission to hospital by patients recovering from fragility fractures represents an important gap in the literature worthy of further research to advance the field.

It was also notable that most of the 35 studies focused on people treated for a hip fracture, including the eleven studies with highest quality ratings [20, 21, 27, 33, 34, 38, 40, 42, 48, 51, 53]. Identifying the paucity of high quality studies that have examined risk factors for re-presentation to hospital following fragility fractures that affect other important body regions (e.g., spine, shoulder, pelvis (non-hip), ankle, wrist, and forearm) is another important finding from this review. Nonetheless, this review has provided a consolidated synthesis of risk factors for hospital re-presentations taking into account study quality and consistency (and inconsistencies) among studies.

Strengths and limitations

A major strength of this review was that it used broad search terms and multiple databases. A rigorous screening process was implemented, including two researchers to independently conduct each stage of screening, data extraction, and quality appraisal. The investigators also considered it beneficial to have used the same quality measurement tool that could be applied across a range of study designs. This reduced the potential for quality rating bias attributable to use of differing quality rating instruments for different study designs. Along with the aforementioned strengths were some notable limitations of this review. First, the review was restricted to peer-reviewed journal articles published in the English language. Second, the inclusion of a range of study designs, sample characteristics, and lengths of study enrolment periods contributed to heterogeneity that prohibited the valid pooling of data for meta-analyses for most potential predictors. This was compounded by other methodological and reporting differences across studies.

Conclusions

There are several important recommendations for future research following this investigation. First, further robust examinations of risk factors for re-presentation to hospital among patients who have sustained fragility fractures beyond those affected by hip fractures are warranted. Second, investigation of risk factors for ED re-presentation without admission are also worthy of investigation. Understanding risk factors for these re-presentations may inform service enhancement to reduce the need for these patients to present to a hospital ED. Third, investigations into how specific elements of geriatric clinical care models potentially related to risk of re-presentation can be optimized to reduce risk would be beneficial. While some differences in findings among studies may be attributable to study methodology, it is likely that other discrepancies were due to local clinical, patient, or environmental factors. A greater understanding of the reasons for variations in risk factors across geographical locations, services, and patient samples may inform the development of interventions or alternative models of care for improving patient care and reducing risk.

A further pragmatic consideration is that the use of emergency services and readmissions to hospitals other than where the primary admission took place ought to be considered wherever possible. Moreover, consistency in the categorization of variables (e.g., age), definition of the index event (e.g., date of discharge), and follow-up periods (e.g. 30, 60, and 90 days) would be beneficial for comparability across studies.

Abbreviations

ASA: 

American Society of Anesthesiologist

CCI: 

Charlson comorbidity index

CIRS: 

cumulative illness rating score

ED: 

emergency department

HR: 

hazard ratio

LOS: 

length of stay

OR: 

odds ratio

Declarations

Acknowledgements

SMM is supported by a National Health and Medical Research Council (of Australia) Fellowship.

Funding

Not applicable.

Availability of data and materials

No additional data are available, though details on statistical analysis are available from the corresponding author on request.

Authors’ contributions

SAM, EG, KCH, and SMM conceptualized, designed and drafted the study protocol. SAM conducted initial searches. SAM, EG, and SMM screened and identified studies for inclusion. SAM, EG and SMM assessed the quality of the studies and contribute to data analysis. SAM and SMM were responsible for principle manuscript drafting. SAM, EG, KH, and SMM contributed to manuscript editing and appraisal. All authors read and approved the final manuscript. The authors have no conflicts of interest to declare.

Competing interests

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Consent for publication

Not applicable.

Ethics approval and consent to participate

Not applicable.

Open AccessThis article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver (http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

Authors’ Affiliations

(1)
School of Public Health & Social Work and Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation, Queensland University of Technology
(2)
Queensland Department of Health, Centre for Functioning and Health Research, Metro South Health
(3)
School of Health & Rehabilitation Sciences, The University of Queensland

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© The Author(s). 2016

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