A study reported in the May 2016 issue of Mayo Clinic Proceedings uncovered a lower rate of hospital readmission among men who received testosterone replacement compared to untreated men.
Previous research has found a decrease in muscle mass and strength in association with hospitalization among older men that is linked to an increased risk of readmission. Testosterone is an androgenic hormone that helps maintain muscle mass, among other benefits.
Jacques Baillargeon and colleagues at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston analyzed SEER-Medicare linked data for 6,372 men aged 66 years and older with low testosterone levels who were hospitalized from 2007 to 2012. They found that men who were not treated with testosterone had a 13% readmission rate within 30 days of being admitted, compared to 9.8% of those treated with the hormone. When emergency department admissions were evaluated, 10% of those who did not use testosterone were readmitted within a month, compared to 6.2% of users.
"It is possible that our findings of decreased hospitalization among male Medicare beneficiaries who received testosterone therapy reflect the improved health, strength and exercise capacity seen in previous studies," commented Dr Baillargeon, who is a professor of epidemiology in the department of preventative medicine and community health at UTMB. "Our findings suggest that one of the benefits of androgen therapy may be quicker recovery from a hospital stay and lower readmission rates. Given the importance of potentially avoidable hospital readmissions among older adults, further exploration of this intervention holds broad clinical and public health relevance."
"Our investigation represents the first large-scale population-based study examining the association of androgen therapy with hospital readmission," the authors announce. "Reducing avoidable hospital readmissions is a national health priority and a major focus of health care reform in the United States."