Acute exacerbations of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (AECOPD) increase COPD morbidity and mortality and impose a great burden on health care systems. Early readmission following a hospitalization for AECOPD remains an important clinical problem. We examined how individualized comprehensive care influences readmissions following an index hospital admission for AECOPD.
We retrospectively reviewed data of patients admitted for AECOPD to two inner-city teaching hospitals to determine the impact of a comprehensive and individualized care management strategy on readmissions for AECOPD. The control group consisted of 271 patients whose index AECOPD occurred the year before the comprehensive program, and the experimental group consisted of 191 patients who received the comprehensive care. The primary outcome measure was the total number of readmissions in 30- and 90-day postindex hospitalizations. Secondary outcome measures included the length of time between the index admission and first readmission and all-cause mortality.
The two groups were similar in terms of age, sex, forced expiratory volume in 1 second, body mass index (BMI), pack-years, and the number and types of comorbidities. Comprehensive care significantly reduced 90-day readmission rates in females ( P=0.0205, corrected for age, BMI, number of comorbidities, substance abuse, and mental illness) but not in males or in the whole group ( P>0.05). The average times between index admission and first readmission were not different between the two groups. Post hoc multivariate analysis showed that substance abuse ( P<0.01) increased 30- and 90-day readmissions (corrected for age, sex, BMI, number of comorbidities, and mental illness). The 90-day all-cause in-hospital mortality rates were significantly less in the care package group (2.67% versus 7.97%, P=0.0268).
Comprehensive individualized care for subjects admitted to hospital for AECOPD did not reduce 30- and 90-day readmission rates but did reduce 90-day total mortality. Interestingly, it reduced 90-day readmission rate in females. We speculate that an individualized care package could impact COPD morbidity and mortality after an acute exacerbation.