Rehospitalization, Treatment, and Resource Use After Inpatient Admission for Achalasia in the USA

Author Department

Internal Medicine; Gastroenterology; Medicine

Document Type

Article, Peer-reviewed

Publication Date



Introduction: Readmission for achalasia treatment is associated with significant morbidity and cost. Factors predictive of readmission would be useful in identifying patients at risk.

Methods: We performed a retrospective study using the Nationwide Readmission Database for the year 2016 and 2017. We collected data on hospital readmissions of 17,848 adults who were hospitalized for achalasia and discharged. The 30-day readmission rate as well as the primary cause, mortality rate, in-hospital adverse events, and total hospitalization charges were examined. A cox multivariate regression model was used to identify independent risk factors for 30-day readmission, including the surgical or endoscopic treatment used during the index admission.

Results: From 2016 to 2017, the 30-day readmission rate for index admission with achalasia was 15.2%. Of these 15.2%, 34% were readmitted with persistent symptoms of achalasia or treatment-related complications. Older age, higher comorbidity index, possessing private insurance, and those with either pneumatic balloon dilation or no endoscopic/surgical treatment showed higher odds of readmission on multivariate analysis. Those treated with laparoscopic Heller myotomy (LHM) or peroral endoscopic myotomy (POEM) showed lower odds of readmission. There was no difference in rates of readmission between those undergoing POEM or LHM, but mortality rate for readmission was significantly higher for the LHM group. The in-hospital mortality rate and length of stay were significantly higher for readmissions (p < 0.01) than the index admissions.

Conclusion: Three in 20 patients admitted with achalasia are likely to be readmitted within 30 days of their initial hospitalization, a number which can be higher in untreated patients and in those with multiple comorbidities. Rehospitalizations bear a higher mortality rate than the initial admission and present a burden to the healthcare system.

Keywords: 30-Day readmission; Achalasia; Epidemiology; NRD; Outcomes research; POEM versus LHM.