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A study published online in the journal JAMA Surgery suggests that as many as one-third of postoperative readmissions may not reflect issues with surgical quality. 

A panel of 14 researchers used a modified Delphi process to review 30-day postoperative readmissions from U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and private-sector institutions, and grouped readmissions based on ICD-9 diagnosis codes. They determined that readmissions with diagnoses of infection, sepsis, pneumonia, hemorrhage/hematoma, anemia, ostomy complications, acute renal failure, fluid/electrolyte disorders, or venous thromboembolism were associated with surgical quality, and accounted for 25,521 of 39,664 readmissions (64 percent of readmissions; 7.5 percent of 340,858 index surgical procedures). Read the abstract...