Background. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is the third most common cause in the United States of hospital readmission within 30 days of discharge. Readmissions, which are attributed to poor quality of care, are costly. We examined the factors associated with 30-day readmission in patients hospitalized with acute exacerbation of COPD. Our hypothesis was that early readmissions among patients with COPD are related to patient factors rather than system or provider factors. Methods. We performed a retrospective chart review of all patients discharged from our facility from June 2010 to May 2011 with a primary discharge diagnosis of COPD. Detailed patient characteristics were obtained from the electronic medical record. Patients were followed for 30 days post–discharge date. We examined the differences in baseline characteristics of patients readmitted within 30 days and those not readmitted. Results. A total of 160 patients were admitted for 192 hospitalizations during the study period; 31 patients (19.4%) were readmitted within 30 days. Patients who were readmitted did not differ from those who were not readmitted of the following factors: baseline medication use, length of stay, and outpatient follow-up postdischarge. Readmitted patients were more likely to be black, to have coronary artery disease, to have a history of alcohol abuse, and to be on supplemental oxygen. Multivariate analysis showed a 2.17 odds of 30-day readmission (95% CI, 1.16–4.09) in patients with alcohol abuse, and 2.52 (95% CI, 1.18–5.38) in those on supplemental oxygen. Conclusion. In our study population, 19.4% of acute exacerbation COPD patients were readmitted within 30 days. Patient factors (such as alcohol abuse and advanced disease) were associated with 30-day readmission.
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