Association of post-discharge specialty outpatient visits with readmissions and mortality in high-risk heart failure patients. American heart journal Edmonston, D. L., Wu, J., Matsouaka, R. A., Yancy, C., Heidenreich, P., Pina, I. L., Hernandez, A., Fonarow, G. C., DeVore, A. D. 2019; 212: 101–12


Heart failure (HF) outcomes are especially poor in high-risk patients with certain comorbidities including diabetes mellitus (DM), chronic kidney disease (CKD), and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Whether early specialty or primary care provider (PCP) follow-up after HF discharge affects outcomes in high-risk patients is unknown.METHODS: We analyzed patients discharged from a Get With The Guidelines HF-participating hospital from 2007-2012 with linked Medicare claims to investigate the association of medical specialist visit within 14 days of discharge stratified by comorbidity with the primary outcome of 90-day HF readmission. Secondary outcomes included 90-day and 1-year all-cause mortality.RESULTS: Out of 33,243 patients, 39.4% had DM, 19.8% had CKD, 30.0% had COPD, and 36.3% had no key comorbidity. Nephrologist visit in patients with CKD was associated with a 35% reduction in 90-day HF readmission (hazard ratio [HR] 0.65, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.49-0.85). Pulmonologist visit in patients with COPD was associated with a 29% reduction in 90-day HF readmission (HR 0.71, 95% CI 0.55-0.91). In patients with no key comorbidity, PCP and Cardiologist visits were associated with decreased 90-day mortality (HR for PCP 0.79, 95% CI 0.66-0.94; HR for Cardiologist 0.78, 95% CI 0.63-0.96). In patients with DM, Endocrinologist visit was associated with a 42% reduction of 90-day mortality (HR 0.58, 95% CI 0.34-0.99).CONCLUSIONS: Specialist and PCP visit in the immediate post-discharge period may improve 90-day HF readmission and mortality in certain high-risk groups of patients with HF.

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