Childhood survivors of ARDS at risk for readmission

Image of a boy in a hospital bed with tubing to help him breathe

New study finds that childhood survivors of acute respiratory distress syndrome have a 30% chance of being readmitted to the hospital within one year.

Though a greater number of children are surviving after an initial hospital admission due to acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), it is unknown how many of those children wind up back in the hospital after being discharged and the reasons why. 

Of the more than 13,000 children in the study who survived ARDS, researchers found that these children had a 30% chance of being readmitted to the hospital within one year, with 50% of those readmissions likely to occur within 61 days of being discharged. Both respiratory and non-respiratory complex chronic conditions were associated with 1-year readmission. Receiving a procedure that opens the windpipe known as a tracheostomy and staying in the hospital longer than two weeks also played a role. A deeper analysis excluding the children with chronic conditions, still showed a longer length of stay was associated with readmission.

According to the study authors, future studies should evaluate whether post-discharge interventions, such as a follow-up phone call or clinics, may help reduce the chance that a child will be readmitted to the hospital.

The NHLBI-funded research appeared in JAMA Network Open.