Acute health care resource utilization for ileostomy patients is higher than expected

Joshua A. Tyler, Justin P. Fox, Sekhar Dharmarajan, Matthew L. Silviera, Steven R. Hunt, Paul E. Wise, Matthew G. Mutch

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31 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: Patients requiring an ileostomy following colorectal surgery are at risk for increased health-care utilization after discharge. Prior studies evaluating postoperative ileostomy care may underestimate healthcare utilization by reporting only "same-institution" readmission rates. OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to determine the rates of health-care utilization of new ostomates within 30 days of discharge in a multicenter environment. DESIGN: This is a retrospective cohort study. SETTINGS: This study was conducted at acute-care, community hospitals in California, Florida, Nebraska, and New York. PATIENTS: Adult patients who underwent colorectal surgery with primary anastomosis, colostomy, or ileostomy between July 2009 and September 2010 were identified. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: The primary outcome measured was hospital-based acute care, defined as hospital readmission or emergency department visit, at any hospital within 30 days of surgery. Multivariate regression models were used to compare the outcomes across groups. RESULTS: Overall, 75,136 patients underwent colectomy with most receiving a primary anastomosis (79.3%), whereas colostomies were created in 12.8% and ileostomies were created in 8.0%. Diagnoses of colorectal cancer (36.1%) or diverticular disease (22.0%) were most common. Patients with a colostomy (18.8%; adjusted odds ratio [AO R], 1.23 [95% CI, 1.17-1.30]) or ileostomy (36.1%; AO R, 2.28 [95% CI 2.15-2.42]) were significantly more likely than patients with a primary anastomosis (16.2%) to have a hospital-based acute-care encounter within 30 days of discharge. Among patients undergoing ileostomy, postoperative infection, renal failure, and dehydration were the most common diagnoses for hospital-based acutecare events. Overall, 20% of these encounters occurred at hospitals other than where the index surgery occurred. LIMITATIONS: Coding accuracy, the inability to capture events occurring in physician offices, and the retrospective study design were limitations of the study. CONCLUSIONS: Patients undergoing colorectal surgery with an ileostomy return to the hospital after discharge twice as frequently as those with a primary anastomosis or colostomy, often to hospitals other than the primary institution. As postdischarge health-care utilization becomes a measured quality metric, it is increasingly important to help these patients to safely transition to home.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1412-1420
Number of pages9
JournalDiseases of the Colon and Rectum
Issue number12
StatePublished - 2014


  • Colorectal
  • Cost
  • Dehydration
  • Ileostomy
  • Readmission
  • Surgery


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