Relation of Telemetry Use and Mortality Risk, Hospital Length of Stay, and Readmission Rates in Patients With Respiratory Illness

      The 2004 American Heart Association expert opinion-based guidelines restrict telemetry use primarily to patients with current or high-risk cardiac conditions. Respiratory infections have emerged as a common source of hospitalization, and telemetry is frequently applied without indication in efforts to monitor patient decompensation. In this retrospective study, we aimed to determine whether telemetry impacts mortality risk, length of stay (LOS), or readmission rates in hospitalized patients with acute respiratory infection not meeting American Heart Association criteria. A total of 765 respiratory infection patient encounters with Diagnosis-Related Groups 193, 194, 195, 177, 178 and 179 admitted in 2013 to 2015 to 2 tertiary community-based medical centers (Mayo Clinic, Arizona, and Mayo Clinic, Florida) were evaluated, and outcomes between patients who underwent or did not undergo telemetry were compared. Overall, the median LOS was longer in patients who underwent telemetry (3.0 days vs 2.0 days, p <0.0001). No differences between cohorts were noted in 30-day readmission rates (0.6% vs 1.3%, p = 0.32), patient mortality while hospitalized (0.6% vs 1.3%, p = 0.44), mortality at 30 days (7.9% vs 7.7%, p = 0.94), or mortality at 90 days (13.5% vs 13.5%, p = 0.99). Telemetry predicted LOS for both univariate (estimate 1.18, 95% confidence interval 1.06 to 1.32, p = 0.003) and multivariate (estimate 1.17, 95% confidence interval 1.06 to 1.30, p = 0.003) analyses after controlling for severity of illness but did not predict patient mortality. In conclusion, this study identified that patients with respiratory infection who underwent telemetry without clear indications may face increased LOS without reducing their readmission risk or improving the overall mortality.
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