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Socioeconomic status (SES) and 30-day hospital readmissions for chronic obstructive pulmonary (COPD) disease: a population-based cohort study

Gershon AS, Thiruchelvam D, Aaron S, Stanbrook M, Vozoris N, Tan WC, Cho E, To T. PloS One. 2019; 14(5):e0216741. Epub 2019 May 21. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0216741.


Background — Patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are more likely to be readmitted than patients with other chronic medical conditions, yet knowledge regarding such readmissions is limited. We aimed to determine factors associated with readmission within 30 days of a COPD hospitalization or death with an emphasis on examining aspects of socioeconomic status and specific comorbidities.

Methods — A population-based cohort study was conducted using health administrative data from Ontario, Canada. All hospitalizations for COPD between 2004 and 2014 were considered. The primary exposures were socioeconomic status as measured by residential instability (an ecologic variable), and comorbidities such as cardiovascular disease and cancer. Other domains of socioeconomic status were considered as secondary exposures. Logistic regression with generalized estimating equations was used to examine the effect of exposures, adjusting for other patient factors, on 30-day readmission or death.

Results — There were 126,013 patients contributing to 252,756 index COPD hospitalizations from 168 Ontario hospitals. Of these hospitalizations, 19.4% resulted in a readmission and 2.8% resulted in death within 30 days. After adjusting for other factors, readmissions or death were modestly more likely among people with the highest residential instability compared to the lowest (OR 1.05, 95% CI 1.01–1.09). Comorbidities such as cardiovascular disease and cancer, as well as other aspects of low socioeconomic status also increased readmission or death risk.

Interpretation — Socioeconomic status, measured in various ways, and many comorbidities predict 30-day readmission or death in patients hospitalized for COPD. Strategies that address these factors may help reduce readmissions and death.

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