Stent Study Finds High Rehospitalization Rate within a Month of First Procedure

People who undergo stent procedures in New York State face a significant risk of hospital readmission within a month of the initial procedure, a new study has found. However, according to a report in The Atlantic, experts believe many stent hospital readmissions are preventable if heart patients receive proper treatment initially and are sent home with the resources they need to stay well.

The new study, published in JACC: Cardiovascular Intervention, involved 40,000 stent procedures done on patients in New York State in 2007. The research team, led by Edward Hannan of the University at Albany, State University of New York, found that about 16 percent of patients were readmitted. Only about a fifth of those cases were planned readmissions for second procedures, while the majority involved readmissions for complications like heart disease, heart failure, or chest pain. One in every three readmissions resulted in a repeat of the stent procedure, the Atlantic said.

The study also found that older people, woman, those with diabetes, kidney failure and other underlying conditions, as well as those who underwent a longer original procedure or one with complications, all had a greater chance of being rehospitalized.

In an editorial accompanying the study, cardiologist Dr. Joseph Cacchione from the Cleveland Clinic wrote that knowing those risk factors is important for preventing repeat hospital stays, The Atlantic said. Some steps that could reduce hospital readmissions include keeping high-risk patients in the hospital a little longer following the first stent procedure.

Another expert interviewed by The Atlantic advised that patients be sent home with all their medications, and be fully briefed on their care and warning signs of possible problems before leaving the hospital. Talking to the doctor on the phone a few days after the stent procedure and coming in for a check-up about a week later could also cut down on complications.

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