Critical elements of clinical follow-up after hospital discharge for heart failure: insights from the EVEREST trial

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AimsHospitalized heart failure (HF) patients are at high risk for death and readmission. We examined the incremental value of data obtained 1 week after HF hospital discharge in predicting mortality and readmission.Methods and resultsIn the Efficacy of Vasopressin Antagonism in Heart Failure Outcome Study with tolvaptan, 1528 hospitalized patients (ejection fraction ≤40%) with a physical examination, laboratories, and health status [Kansas City Cardiomyopathy Questionnaire (KCCQ)] assessments 1 week after discharge were included. The ability to predict 1 year cardiovascular rehospitalization and mortality was assessed with Cox models, c-statistics, and the integrated discrimination improvement (IDI). Not using a beta-blocker, rales, pedal oedema, hyponatraemia, lower creatinine clearance, higher brain natriuretic peptide, and worse health status were independent risk factors for rehospitalization and death. The c-statistic for the base model (history and medications) was 0.657. The model improved with physical examination, laboratory, and KCCQ results, with IDI increases of 4.9, 7.0, and 3.2%, respectively (P < 0.001 each). The combination of all three offered the greatest incremental gain (c-statistic 0.749; IDI increase 10.8%).ConclusionPhysical examination, laboratories, and KCCQ assessed 1 week after discharge offer important prognostic information, suggesting that all are critical components of outpatient evaluation after HF hospitalization.

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