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The objective of this study was to characterize treatment of patients with acute bacterial skin and skin structure infections (ABSSSIs) and describe the association between hospital admission and emergency department (ED) visits or readmissions within 30 days after initial episode of care (IEC).


This was a retrospective, observational, cohort study of adults with ABSSSI who presented to an ED between July 1, 2012, and June 30, 2013. Patient, health care facility, and treatment characteristics, including unplanned ED visits or readmissions, were obtained through manual chart review and abstraction. Adjusted logistic regression analysis examined likelihood of all-cause unplanned ED visits or readmissions between admitted and nonadmitted patients.


Records from 1527 ED visits for ABSSSI from 40 centers were reviewed (admitted, n = 578 [38%]; nonadmitted, n = 949 [62%]). Admitted patients were typically older (mean age, 52.2 years vs 43.0 years), more likely to be morbidly obese (body mass index > 40 kg/m2; 17.3% vs 9.1%), and had more comorbidities (Charlson Comorbidity Index ≥ 4; 24.4% vs 6.8%) compared with those not admitted. In the primary analysis, adjusted logistic regression, controlling for comorbidities and severity of illness, demonstrated that there was a similar likelihood of all-cause unplanned ED visits or readmissions between admitted and nonadmitted patients (odds ratio, 1.03; 95% confidence interval, 0.74–1.43; P = .87).


ABSSSI treatment pathways leveraging outpatient treatment vs hospital admission support similar likelihood of unplanned 30-day ED visits or readmissions, an important clinical outcome and quality metric at US hospitals. Further research regarding the decision criteria around hospital admission to avoid potentially unnecessary hospitalizations is warranted.



© The Authors 2018. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Infectious Diseases Society of America.

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