Study: Improve outpatient care to prevent repeat ER visits for acute heart failure

Nearly one-third of acute heart failure patients seen in hospital emergency departments (EDs) in Florida and California during 2010 returned to the ED the following year, according to a study recently published in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes. Researchers say the findings suggest a lack of appropriate outpatient care. In addition, the study found patients with frequent ED visits for the syndrome made up more than half of all ED visits and hospitalizations contributing to significant healthcare costs. "The high proportion of patients with frequent ED visits reflects the failure of current measures to manage heart failure symptoms," writes study author Kohei Hasegawa, M.D., of the department of emergency medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. "Our findings also suggests that quality improvement efforts focusing only on hospital admissions may provide an incomplete picture of the utilization of healthcare services by discounting the importance of pre-admission ED visits." Study abstract