eart failure patients readmitted to
the same hospital within a month
are discharged quicker and more
likely to survive, according to a
new Canadian study.
Among 217,039 heart failure patients in
Canada from 2004 to 2013, those readmitted to
the same hospital were discharged an average
one day sooner and were 11 percent less likely
to die during their hospitalization.
Researchers also found that 18. 1 percent
were readmitted within 30 days — 83.2 percent
to the original hospital and 16. 8 percent to a
different hospital. The most common cause for
readmission was heart failure ( 36. 9 percent).
“For the individual patient, these differences
may not seem like much, but considering
that heart failure is one of the most common
reasons for hospitalization and readmission in
North America, it’s a big issue for the healthcare system,”
said Finlay A. McAlister, M.D., the study’s lead researcher
and professor of general internal medicine at the University of
Alberta in Edmonton, Canada.
In Canada and the United States, ambulance policies
usually require patients be taken to the nearest emergency
room, even if a patient has recently been hospitalized
“This makes sense in time-sensitive acute conditions
where delays in initial treatment are associated with poorer
outcomes — thus the adage ‘time is muscle’ for heart
attacks and ‘time is brain’ for strokes,” McAlister said.
About 6. 5 million U.S. adults live with heart failure, which
occurs when the heart muscle is too weak to pump sufficient
blood to vital organs throughout the body.
Although Canada has free universal access to hospital
care, the study findings are likely to also apply to the United
State because of similar rates of readmission for heart failure
and similar gaps in the transfer of medical information from
one facility to another, researchers said.
By 2030, the prevalence of heart failure will increase 46
percent compared with 2012, according to American Heart
“Patients’ hospital records may not be completed for
weeks and they don’t report all of the things that happened
during the initial hospitalization,” McAlister said. “For example,
it is not uncommon for heart failure patients to not tolerate or
have adverse responses to higher doses of some guideline-
recommended medications. That information rarely appears
on discharge summaries, so patients are at risk of the same
thing happening if they are admitted to a different hospital.
“If you are discharged from the hospital after heart failure,
book a follow-up appointment with your physician within two
weeks of discharge. If your condition deteriorates, try to see a
familiar physician as soon as possible,” he said.
The study is published in the Journal of the American
Heart failure patients
readmitted to same hospital
may fare better
By American Heart Association News