Patients with heart failure (HF) are admitted either under observation (OBS) or inpatient stays; however, there is little data on whether this designation reflects the clinical status of a patient, with significant logistical and financial implications. We sought to compare the outcomes of patients with HF admitted OBS versus inpatient stay (=2 days; INPT).From January 1, 2008 to September 30, 2015, our multisite health system saw 21 339 unique patients totaling 52 493 hospital admissions with a primary diagnosis of HF. Patients were excluded if they underwent cardiac surgery (n=611), heart transplantation (n=187), or left ventricular assist device insertion (n=198), or if they died during hospitalization (n=1839). Of the remaining 50 654 discharges, 2 groups were identified: INPT group and OBS group. Outcomes were HF readmission, all-cause readmission, and all-cause mortality within 1 year of discharge. Hazard ratios were computed using the Andersen-Gill method in the Cox proportional-hazards model. A total of 8709 admissions (17%) occurred in the INPT group and 2648 admissions (5%) occurred in the OBS group. HF readmission rate at 1 year was 55.3% in INPT versus 66.5% in OBS (hazard ratio, 0.75; 95% confidence interval, 0.71-0.80; P<0.01). All-cause readmission rate at 1 year was 70.7% in INPT versus 82.5% in OBS (hazard ratio, 0.74; 95% confidence interval, 0.70-0.78; P<0.01). All-cause mortality at 1 year occurred in 25.2% of INPT versus 24.2% of OBS (hazard ratio, 1.03; 95% confidence interval, 0.95-1.12; P=0.46).HF admissions designated INPTs were associated with lower readmission rates and equivalent mortality to those designated OBS.
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