Inter-hospital variation in length of hospital stay after ST-elevation myocardial infarction : results from the Belgian STEMI registry
Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences
Acta cardiologica. - Bruxelles
, p. 235-239
University of Antwerp
Objective The aim of this paper was to assess the determinants of and variations in length of hospital stay (LOS) in Belgium after ST-elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI). Methods and results Data on LOS were collected from 2079 STEMI patients who were discharged alive from 33 Belgian hospitals (21 with PCI facilities) during 2010-2011. Early discharge was defined as hospital discharge within 4 days after admission, and the hospitals were clustered according to their LOS for low-risk patients. Determinants of LOS were calculated by means of a negative binomial regression model. LOS was, on average, 6.5 days with a median of 5 days (IQR 4). Baseline risk profiles and reperfusion treatment explained only 13% of the LOS variation. Additional analysis revealed major in-hospital variations independent of the case mix of patients. For comparable baseline risk profiles, the average LOS in a cluster of 11 hospitals with short discharge policies was 5.3 +/- 5.6 days, with an early discharge rate of 58%, while in the cluster of 11 hospitals with long discharge policies, the average LOS was 7.9 +/- 8.5 days with an early discharge rate of 22% (P < 0.0001). Among the clustered hospitals, there were no differences with regard to logistics (PCI facility, academic affiliation) or volume of STEMI patients. The 1-month mortality rate was less than 0.5% in the different clusters of hospitals (p=NS). Conclusions Length of hospital stay is not only determined by baseline risk profiles of patients but is also highly dependent on hospital discharge policy, which seems to be unrelated to medical or logistical factors.