7 Conditions that Frequently Lead to Rehospitalizations

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Hospital readmissions are often unplanned. Premature discharge from the hospital is a significant risk factor for readmission. However, even those whose conditions are stable at the time of discharge may still be at high risk for readmission. Here are some of the most common diagnoses for hospital readmissions.

1. Aspiration Pneumonitis

Aspiration pneumonitis occurs when food or other material is aspirated into the lungs, and this may be the result of swallowing problems caused by a stroke, medication side effects, or Parkinson’s disease. Symptoms of aspiration pneumonitis include cough, fever, shortness of breath, wheezing, chest pain, and bluish skin discoloration.

2. Anemia

Anemia can be caused by blood loss and nutritional deficiencies. Symptoms of anemia include pallor, shortness of breath, dizziness, cold body temperature, weakness, and a fast heart rate. Treatment for anemia includes taking supplemental ferrous sulfate, stopping or decreasing the dosage of aspirin or prescription anticoagulants, and increasing the dietary intake of iron-rich foods.

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3. Electrolyte Disorders

Electrolyte disorders, such as hypokalemia and hyperkalemia, can necessitate hospital readmissions. Hypokalemia refers to low levels of serum potassium, and hyperkalemia means there’s too much potassium in the blood. Both conditions can cause cardiac arrhythmia, chest pain, nausea, lethargy, and shortness of breath. Other electrolyte disorders that may require hospital readmissions include abnormal sodium and calcium levels.

4. Gastrointestinal Bleeding

Bleeding from the gastrointestinal tract can be caused by prescription anticoagulants and aspirin as well as tumors, esophagitis, liver disease, and stomach ulcers. Symptoms of gastrointestinal bleeding include blood in the stool or vomitus, a fast heartbeat, pale skin, dizziness, and fainting. If your loved one is bleeding from the gastrointestinal tract, he or she may require intravenous fluid therapy or a blood transfusion, if blood loss is significant. 

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5. Kidney Failure

If the symptoms of kidney failure aren’t recognized and treated quickly, a life-threatening situation may develop. If your loved one develops swelling of the face, abdomen, or extremities, his or her kidneys may be failing. Other symptoms of kidney failure include loss of appetite, vomiting, sleepiness, chest pain, and seizures.

6. Alcohol-Related Illnesses

Elderly individuals are especially susceptible to the effects of excessive alcohol intake. Drinking too much alcohol can cause liver failure, kidney disorders, fluid retention, cardiovascular issues, high blood pressure, and even dangerous bleeding tendencies. If you believe your loved one has a drinking problem, make an appointment with his or her physician, who can recommend treatment options.

7. Intestinal Obstructions

Intestinal obstructions can cause severe abdominal pain, vomiting, high blood pressure, and even heart problems. Obstructions can be caused by fecal impactions resulting from constipation or growths in the colon. If left untreated, intestinal obstructions may cause bowel perforations. When this happens, gastrointestinal hemorrhaging or a life-threatening infection may develop. Your loved one may require a blood transfusion or intravenous antibiotics to eliminate the infection.

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