Long-term management of chronic heart failure patients in internal medicine
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Chronic heart failure (CHF) is one of the main disabilities in elderly patients requiring frequent hospitalizations with high health care costs. We studied the outcome of CHF outpatient management in reducing hospitalization after discharge from a division of Internal Medicine at a large 3rd referral regional Hospital. 147 CHF inpatients (M:F: 63:84; mean age 76 ± 9.6 years) admitted for acute exacerbation of CHF were followed up as outpatients at 1, 6, 12 and 24 months after discharge. At baseline, patients underwent: laboratory tests, ECG, echocardiogram and a dedicated-intensive health care educational program involving also their families. The rate of hospitalization in the same group of patients was compared with data from the previous 24 months, a period when patients had been seen elsewhere without disease management programs. Patients had high prevalence of comorbidities and the majority was in NYHA class III or IV. Hypertension and valvular heart disease were the most common causes for CHF. Systolic function was preserved (LVEF ≥ 50%) in 61.9% of cases. Functional NYHA class improved significantly after 6 months and remained stable at 24 months. There was a significant increase in the use of the renin–angiotensin system blockers, beta-blockers and diuretics compared to admission to the ward. At 24 months, hospital readmissions were decreased by 42% as compared to the previous 24 months. Risk factors for re-hospitalizations were anemia, NYHA class III or IV and previous hospitalizations. Establishing an intensive outpatient management program for CHF patients leads to long-term beneficial effects with improved clinical parameters and decreased hospitalization in the setting of Internal Medicine.
KeywordsChronic heart failure Disease management Elderly patients Re-hospitalization
Compliance with Ethical Statement
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
Statement of human and animal rights
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional or national research committee and with the1964 Helenski declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. This article does not contain any studies with animals performed by any of the authors.
Informed consent was obtained from the patient included in the case report.
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