Validity of the LACE index for identifying frequent early readmissions after hospital discharge in children

Thang S Han*, David Fluck, Chris H Fry

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

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The LACE index scoring tool has been designed to predict hospital readmissions in adults. We aimed to evaluate the ability of the LACE index to identify children at risk of frequent readmissions. We analysed data from alive-discharge episodes (1 April 2017 to 31 March 2019) for 6546 males and 5875 females from birth to 18 years. The LACE index predicted frequent all-cause readmissions within 28 days of hospital discharge with high accuracy: the area under the curve = 86.9% (95% confidence interval = 84.3–89.5%, p < 0.001). Two-graph receiver operating characteristic curve analysis revealed the LACE index cutoff to be 4.3, where sensitivity equals specificity, to predict frequent readmissions. Compared with those with a LACE index score = 0–4 (event rates, 0.3%), those with a score > 4 (event rates, 3.7%) were at increased risk of frequent readmissions: age- and sex-adjusted odds ratio = 12.4 (95% confidence interval = 8.0–19.2, p < 0.001) and death within 30 days of discharge: OR = 5.0 (95% CI = 1.5–16.7). The ORs for frequent readmissions were between 6 and 14 for children of different age categories (neonate, infant, young child and adolescent), except for patients in the child category (6–12 years) where odds ratio was 2.8. Conclusion: The LACE index can be used in healthcare services to identify children at risk of frequent readmissions. Focus should be directed at individuals with a LACE index score above 4 to help reduce risk of readmissions.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages9
JournalEuropean Journal of Pediatrics
Early online date15 Jan 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 15 Jan 2021


  • Healthcare services
  • Health economics
  • Quality improvement
  • LACE index

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