Heart Failure Patients Wind Up in ER Too Often: Study

Finding illustrates need for better outpatient care, researchers say

MONDAY, Aug. 25, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Many acute heart failure patients make repeated visits to emergency departments, which suggests they need better outpatient care, researchers report.

Improved care would lead to lower health care costs, the researchers added.

They looked at more than 113,000 adult patients in California and Florida who made at least one emergency department visit in 2010 for acute heart failure syndrome, an increase in heart failure symptoms that requires urgent care.

Of those patients, 30 percent returned to the emergency department (ED) at least once during the next 12 months, according to the study published Aug. 25 in the journal Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes.

Patients most likely to make return visits were black or Hispanic, low-income and covered by Medicaid.

"The high proportion of patients with frequent ED visits reflects the failure of current measures to manage heart failure symptoms," study corresponding author Dr. Kohei Hasegawa, from the department of emergency medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, said in a hospital news release.

The study found that acute heart failure syndrome accounts for more than 675,000 ED visits and 1 million hospitalizations in the United States each year.

"We estimate that prevention of repeat ED visits by high-quality outpatient care of heart failure symptoms would reduce almost 62,000 ED visits and more than 52,000 hospital admissions in both states, saving more than $1 billion in Florida alone," Hasegawa said.

To improve care, further research is needed to pinpoint the factors linked with frequent ED visits for these patients, the researchers said.

More information

The U.S. National Library of Medicine has more about heart failure (http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/heartfailure.html ).

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: Massachusetts General Hospital, news release, Aug. 19, 2014

All EBSCO Publishing proprietary, consumer health and medical information found on this site is accredited by URAC. URAC's Health Web Site Accreditation Program requires compliance with 53 rigorous standards of quality and accountability, verified by independent audits. To send comments or feedback to our Editorial Team regarding the content please email us at HLEditorialTeam@ebscohost.com.

This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.

Editorial Policy | Privacy Policy | Terms and Conditions | Support
Copyright © 2008 EBSCO Publishing. All rights reserved.

If you experience signs of a heart attack, chew an aspirin and call 9-1-1. Heart attacks are caused by blood clots in the heart arteries and aspirin helps reduce these clots.