Short-Term Outcomes and Factors Associated With Adverse Events Among Adults Discharged From the Emergency Department After Treatment for Acute Heart Failure

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Abstract

Background

Although 80% of patients with heart failure seen in the emergency department (ED) are admitted, less is known about short-term outcomes and demand for services among discharged patients.

Methods and Results

We examined adult members of a large integrated delivery system who visited an ED for acute heart failure and were discharged from January 1, 2013, through September 30, 2014. The primary outcome was a composite of repeat ED visit, hospital admission, or death within 7 days of discharge. We identified multivariable baseline patient-, provider-, and facility-level factors associated with adverse outcomes within 7 days of ED discharge using logistic regression. Among 7614 patients, mean age was 77.2 years, 51.9% were women, and 28.4% were people of color. Within 7 days of discharge, 75% had outpatient follow-up (clinic, telephone, or e-mail), 7.1% had an ED revisit, 4.7% were hospitalized, and 1.2% died. Patients who met the primary outcome were more likely to be older, smokers, have a history of hemorrhagic stroke, hypothyroidism, and dementia, and less likely to be treated in a facility with an observation unit. In multivariable analysis, higher comorbidity scores and history of smoking were associated with a higher odds of the primary outcome, whereas treatment in a facility with an observation unit and presence of outpatient follow-up within 7 days were associated with a lower odds.

Conclusions

We identified selected hospital and patient characteristics associated with short-term adverse outcomes. Further understanding of these factors may optimize safe outpatient management in ED-treated patients with heart failure.

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