Quality of care for heart failure patients hospitalized for any cause

Saul Blecker, Sunil K. Agarwal, Patricia P. Chang, Wayne D. Rosamond, Donald E. Casey, Anna Kucharska-Newton, Martha J. Radford, Josef Coresh, Stuart Katz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Objectives The study sought to assess the quality of care for heart failure patients who are hospitalized for all causes. Background Performance measures for heart failure target patients with a principal diagnosis of heart failure. However, patients with heart failure are commonly hospitalized for other causes and may benefit from treatments such as angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors for left ventricular (LV) systolic dysfunction. Methods We assessed rates of compliance with care measures for patients hospitalized with acute or chronic heart failure in the ARIC (Atherosclerosis Risk In Communities) study surveillance catchment area from 2005 to 2009. Rates of compliance were compared between patients with a principal discharge diagnosis of heart failure and those with another principal discharge diagnosis. Results Of 4,345 hospitalizations of heart failure patients, 39.6% carried a principal diagnosis of heart failure. Patients with a principal heart failure diagnosis had higher rates of LV function assessment (89.1% vs. 82.5%; adjusted prevalence ratio [aPR]: 1.07; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.04 to 1.10) and discharge ACE inhibitor/angiotensin receptor blocker (ARB) in LV dysfunction (64.1% vs. 56.3%; aPR: 1.11; 95% CI: 1.03 to 1.20) as compared to patients hospitalized for another cause. LV assessment and ACE inhibitor/ARB use were associated with reductions in 1-year post-discharge mortality (adjusted odds ratio: 0.66, 95% CI: 0.51 to 0.85; adjusted odds ratio: 0.72, 95% CI: 0.54 to 0.96, respectively) that did not differ for patients with versus without a principal heart failure diagnosis. Conclusions Compared with individuals hospitalized with a principal diagnosis of heart failure, heart failure patients hospitalized for other causes were less likely to receive guideline recommended care. Quality initiatives may improve care by targeting hospitalizations with either principal or secondary heart failure diagnoses.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)123-130
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of the American College of Cardiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 21 2014


  • heart failure
  • hospitalization
  • quality of care

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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