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One among every six patients of systemic lupus erythematosus are readmitted to the hospital within 30 days of their discharge, a new study has found.
The research was conducted by the University of California-San Francisco and was led by Dr. Jinoos Yazdany of the Division of Rheumatology.
According to the study, up to 25 percent of SLE patients need hospital treatment each year. It means as many as 140,000 people suffering from this form of lupus are hospitalized in the US every year.
The researchers also consulted a 2010 study that showed that SLE patients have the sixth highest hospital readmission rate in America in comparison to those with other chronic disease.
The main aim of the study was to find more detailed look into the hospital readmissions rate for SLE patients and figure out the major reasons behind it.
The research team studied the database of discharges from 810 hospitals in the US. The databases showed 31,903 SLE patients between age group 18 and above. These patients were from five states including Florida, Utah, California, New York and Washington. All of them had been treated for the disease and readmitted to the hospital in 2008-09.
Findings of the study
- 9,244 hospital readmissions were found among 4,916 SLE patients within 30 days of discharge. In simpler terms, almost one in every six SLE patients was readmitted.
- Black or Hispanic SLE patients were more likely to be readmitted than their white counterparts.
- Younger patients were at higher risk of readmission than older patients.
- Medicare and Medicaid insured patients were more likely to be readmitted than those who had private insurance.
- The readmission rates varied between states.
- Compared with California, the readmission rates were higher in Florida and lower in New York.
Concluding the findings, the researchers said, “Considering the findings regarding both risk factors and variability in 30-day readmissions suggest that readmissions may be an important outcome measure in SLE.”
“Although our study does not address the reasons for variation in readmission rates between hospitals and states, the presence of unexplained variation after careful risk adjustment suggests that there is room for quality improvement. Further work to identify care processes that can reduce readmission rates for this complex disease is needed,” the researchers added.
“They admit that the study is subject to some limitations. For example, they only included data from five states, therefore their findings may not be representative nationwide. “However, our study covers a substantial number of admissions among individuals with SLE in the US,” they add.
Systemic Lupus Erythematosus and its symptoms
The autoimmune disease systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a condition in which the immune system mistakenly identifies healthy tissues as foreign invaders and ends up attacking them and causing damage to numerous body parts including brain, kidneys, heart, lungs, joints, blood vessels and skin.
The systemic lupus erythematosus is the most common form of lupus. Common SLE symptoms include joint pain, swelling, some traces of arthritis, fatigue, fever, sensitivity to sunlight, mouth sores, hair loss and skin rash.
These symptoms vary depending upon which body part is affected.
The study was published in the journal Arthritis & Rheumatology.