Clustered emergency room visits following an acute heart failure admission: A population-based study

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Abstract

Background--While it is well known that heart failure patients presenting to the emergency room (ER) have high short-term mortality after discharge, the outcomes of patients with heart failure with repeated ER visits within a short time are not known. In this study, we aimed to determine whether clustering is associated with an increased risk of death. Methods and Results--This is a retrospective, population-based cohort study with an accrual window between 2003 and 2014 and maximal follow-up up to and including March 31, 2015. Data were obtained from administrative databases from Ontario, Canada. Clustering was defined a priori as 3 or more ER visits within a 6-month period. The main outcome of interest was time to death conditional on 6-month survival. A total of 72 810 patients with an index hospitalization for acute heart failure were evaluated. ER clustering was observed in 15.1% of the population. Increased burden of comorbidities, primary rural residence, and lack of primary care provider were identified as factors associated with ER clustering. Age- and sex-adjusted mortality for clustered patients was higher than for nonclustered (hazard ratio [HR] 1.51; 95% confidence interval, 1.47-1.55, P < 0.0001). Adjusted mortality risk was also higher for patients with clustered ER visits (HR 1.42; 95% confidence interval 1.38-1.46; P < 0.0001). Conclusions--Clustering, as defined by 3 or more ER visits for any reason within 6 months of index heart failure hospitalization reflects a novel risk factor associated with increased mortality. Future research into the strategies to better manage complex patients with heart failure with recurrent ER visits are warranted.

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Posada, J. G. D., Moayedi, Y., Zhou, L., McDonald, M., Ross, H. J., Lee, D. S., & Bhatia, R. S. (2018). Clustered emergency room visits following an acute heart failure admission: A population-based study. Journal of the American Heart Association, 7(7). https://doi.org/10.1161/JAHA.117.007569

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