A systematic review and meta-analysis of unplanned hospital visits and re-admissions following radical prostatectomy for prostate cancer


  • Avinash N. Mukkala
  • Jasmine B. Song
  • Michelle Lee
  • Alexandra Boasie
  • Jonathan Irish
  • Antonio Finelli
  • Alice C. Wei




readmission, radical prostatectomy, emergency room visit, unplanned visits, quality improvement


Introduction: Unplanned visits (UPV) — re-admissions and emergency room (ER) visits — are markers of healthcare system quality. Radical prostatectomy (RP) is a commonly performed cancer procedure, where variation in UPV represents a gap in care for prostate cancer patients. Here, we systematically synthesize the rates, reasons, predictors, and interventions for UPV after RP to inform evidence-based quality improvement (QI) initiatives.

Methods: A systematic review was performed for studies from 2000–2020 using keywords: “re-admission,” “emergency room/ department,” “unplanned visit,” and “prostatectomy.” Studies that focused on UPV following RP and that reported rates, reasons, predictors, or interventions, were included. Data was extracted via a standardized form. Meta-analysis was completed.

Results: Sixty studies, with 406 107 RP patients, were eligible; 16 028 UPV events (approximately 5%) were analyzed from 317 050 RP patients. UPV rates after RP varied between studies (ER visit range 6–24%; re-admissions range 0–56%). The 30-day and 90-day ER visit rates were 12% and 14%, respectively; the 30-day and 90-day re-admission rates were 4% and 9%, respectively. A total of 55% of all re-admissions after RP are directly due to postoperative genitourinary (GU)-related complications, such as strictures, obstructions, fistula, bladder-related, incontinence, urine leak, renal problems, and other unspecified urinary complications. The next most common re-admission reasons were anastomosis-related, infection-related, cardiovascular/pulmonary events, and wound-related issues. Thirty-four percent of all ER visits after RP are directly due to urine-related issues, such as retention, urinoma, obstruction, leak, and catheter problems. The next most common ER visit reasons were abdominal/ gastrointestinal issues, infection-related, venous thromboembolic events, and wound-related issues. Predictors for increased re-admission included: open RP, lymph node dissection, Charlson comorbidity index ≥2, low surgeon/hospital case volume, and socioeconomic determinants of health. Of the 10 interventions evaluated, a 3.4% average reduction in UPV rate was observed, highlighting an approximate two-fold decrease. Meta-analysis demonstrated a significant benefit of interventions over controls, with odds ratio 0.62 (95% confidence interval 0.46–0.84). Interventions that used multidisciplinary, nurse-centered, programs, with patient self-care/ empowerment were more beneficial than algorithmic patient care pathways and preoperative patient education.

Conclusions: Twenty years of international, retrospective experience suggests UPV after RP are often related to GU complications and infection- or wound-related factors. QI interventions to reduce UPV should target these factors. While many re-admissions after RP appear to be unavoidable, ER visits have more opportunity for volume reduction by QI. The interventions evaluated herein have the potential to reduce UPV after RP.


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How to Cite

Mukkala, A. N. ., Song, J. B., Lee, M., Boasie, A., Irish, J., Finelli, A., & Wei, A. C. (2021). A systematic review and meta-analysis of unplanned hospital visits and re-admissions following radical prostatectomy for prostate cancer. Canadian Urological Association Journal, 15(10), E531–44. https://doi.org/10.5489/cuaj.6931



Original Research