Early hospital readmissions (EHRs) occur commonly in kidney transplant recipients. Conflicting evidence exists regarding risk factors and outcomes of EHRs.
To determine risk factors and outcomes associated with EHRs (ie, hospitalization within 30 days of discharge from transplant hospitalization) in kidney transplant recipients.
Population-based cohort study using linked, administrative health care databases.
We included 5437 kidney transplant recipients from 2002 to 2015.
Risk factors and outcomes associated with EHRs. We assessed donor, recipient, and transplant risk factors. We also assessed the following outcomes: total graft failure, death-censored graft failure, death with a functioning graft, mortality, and late hospital readmission.
We used multivariable logistic regression to examine the association of each risk factor and the odds of EHR. To examine the relationship between EHR status (yes vs no [reference]) and the outcomes associated with EHR (eg, total graft failure), we used a multivariable Cox proportional hazards model.
In all, 1128 kidney transplant recipients (20.7%) experienced an EHR. We found the following risk factors were associated with an increased risk of EHR: older recipient age, lower income quintile, several comorbidities, longer hospitalization for initial kidney transplant, and older donor age. After adjusting for clinical characteristics, compared to recipients without an EHR, recipients with an EHR had an increased risk of total graft failure (adjusted hazard ratio [aHR]: 1.46, 95% CI: 1.29, 1.65), death-censored graft failure (aHR: 1.62, 95% CI: 1.36, 1.94), death with graft function (aHR: 1.34, 95% CI: 1.13, 1.59), mortality (aHR: 1.41, 95% CI: 1.22, 1.63), and late hospital readmission in the first 0.5 years of follow-up (eg, 0 to <0.25 years: aHR: 2.11, 95% CI: 1.85, 2.40).
We were not able to identify which readmissions could have been preventable and there is a potential for residual confounding.
Results can be used to identify kidney transplant recipients at risk of EHR and emphasize the need for interventions to reduce the risk of EHRs.