Disparities in U.S. hospitalizations for serious infections in patients with & without opioid use disorder (OUD)

In a research article published in PLOS Medicine (August 2020), patients with opioid use disorder (OUD) who are hospitalized for serious infections requiring prolonged intravenous antibiotics may face barriers to discharge, which could prolong length of stay (LOS) and increase financial burden. Researchers used the 2016 National Inpatient Sample, a nationally representative database of all discharges from U.S. acute care hospitals. The
population of interest was all hospitalizations for infective endocarditis, epidural abscess, septic arthritis or osteomyelitis. The exposure was opioid use disorder (OUD), and the primary outcome was LOS until discharge.

Of the approximate 95,400 hospitalizations for serious infections, the findings suggest that patients with OUD were associated with longer LOS, higher odds of discharge to post-acute care facilities or patient-directed discharge and similar total hospital charges despite lower daily charges. These findings highlight opportunities to improve care for patients with OUD hospitalized with serious infections. Access the published article.

Despite medical and surgical advances in heart disease management and public policy initiatives around blood pressure awareness, we are losing ground in the battle against heart failure and hypertension. And the disparities in heart disease are clear. We have to recognize and address that the root causes of these disparities arise from differences in social determinants of health, such as socioeconomic status and access to care, and structural and systemic racism in our country.

Dadiya Khan, MD
Assistant Professor of Preventive Medicine
Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine

News release dated August 20, 2020: Heart Failure, hypertensive deaths rise in black women and men