Unplanned Readmissions of Children With Epilepsy in the United States

Abstract [from journal]

Background: The burden and characteristics of unplanned readmission after epilepsy-related discharge in children in the United States is not known.

Methods: We undertook a retrospective cohort study of children aged one to 17 years discharged after a nonelective hospitalization for epilepsy, sampled from the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project's 2013 and 2014 Nationwide Readmissions Database. Descriptive statistics and logistic regression models were used to examine the characteristics of initial hospitalization and risk factors for readmission.

Results: A total of 42,873 admissions for unique patients were identified, with 4470 (10.4%) leading to readmission within 30 days. The most common readmission diagnosis was epilepsy (24.9%). Neurodevelopmental diagnoses including cerebral palsy, intellectual disability, and developmental delay were associated with increased odds of readmission. Longer hospitalization, gastrostomy, and tracheostomy were also associated with readmission, but continuous electroencephalography use was not. Children insured by Medicare had a readmission rate of 34.4%, whereas there were no associations of readmission with other sociodemographic characteristics such as neighborhood, income, and sex.

Conclusions: Seizures are among the most frequent reasons for hospitalization in children. Establishing a benchmark readmission rate for pediatric epilepsy of 10.4% may be useful to health systems designing quality improvement efforts. Clinical factors were more strongly associated with readmission than demographic characteristics. Interventions to reduce pediatric epilepsy readmissions may have the highest yield when targeting children with neurodevelopmental comorbidities.