Factors affecting emergency department visits, readmissions, and reoperations within 30 days of ankle fracture surgery- an institutional retrospective study

Academic Article


  • Introduction: With the U.S. healthcare system focused on value of care, providers and hospitals are increasingly measured by factors that increase patient care and decrease healthcare cost. Early postoperative adverse events not only increase healthcare cost, but also illuminate areas of potential improvement in patient care. This large single institution study aims to delineate factors that may influence emergency department visits, admissions, and reoperations within 30 days of ankle fracture surgery. Methods: This retrospective review of patients at a Level 1 trauma center evaluated 30-day outcomes after ankle fracture surgery over a 4-year period (2015–2018). A total of 596 patients were included in final analysis. The primary outcome measures assessed were emergency department (ED) visits within 30 days, unplanned readmissions within 30 days and unplanned return to the operating room (OR) within 30 days. Patient and injury characteristics were investigated as potential factors related to these 30-day outcomes. Multiple linear regression was used for outcomes. Results: Forty-three (7.2%) patients visited the ED within thirty days, 30 (5.0%) patients were readmitted within thirty days, and 10 (1.7%) patients requiring reoperation within thirty days. Sex, insurance status, several comorbidities, smoking status, and fracture type/location were not found to be significantly related to 30-day events. Age less than 45 was a significant risk factor for returning to the ED within 30 days (RR 2.1, p = 0.016). Open fractures were more likely to require unplanned reoperation than closed fractures (RR 5.7, p<0.01). Fifty-four percent of ED visits were for postoperative pain, while 37% of ED visits and 60% of readmissions within 30 days were for issues unrelated to the ankle fracture. Conclusions: Age less than 45 years old was a risk factor for early ED visits, highlighting a potential “at-risk” population after ankle fracture surgery. Furthermore, many of the ED visits (37%) and readmissions (60%) were unrelated to the ankle fracture suggesting unnecessary healthcare utilization may be avoided with protocols that increase emphasis on reconditioning and optimization of comorbidities.
  • Authors

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Prather J; Alexander B; Halstrom J; Sutherland C; Patel A; McGwin G; Shah A
  • Start Page

  • 2698
  • End Page

  • 2702
  • Volume

  • 51
  • Issue

  • 11