Hospital stays longer without prophylactic laxatives
(HealthDay)—Failure to use prophylactic laxatives in elderly congestive heart failure (CHF) patients who use laxatives at home is associated with a significantly longer hospital length of stay (LOS), according to a study published online May 13 in the Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology.
The researchers found that nearly one-third (32.5 percent) were using laxatives at home, while 41.1 percent were started on a prophylactic laxative on admission. LOS did not significantly differ between patients receiving prophylaxis and those who did not (P = 0.32). LOS was one day longer for patients using laxatives at home compared to those not using laxatives at home (six versus five days; P = 0.03). Among patients using laxatives at home, LOS was two days longer for those who were not given prophylactic laxatives on admission (eight versus six days; P = 0.002). Failure to use constipation prophylaxis in patients using laxatives at home was the only independent predictor of increased LOS (P = 0.03), in multivariate analysis.
"Our data suggest that routine use of bowel prophylaxis for elderly CHF patients with preexisting constipation may reduce LOS," the authors write.
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