Current Geriatrics Reports

, Volume 3, Issue 4, pp 306–315 | Cite as

Strategies to Reduce 30-Day Readmissions in Older Patients Hospitalized with Heart Failure and Acute Myocardial Infarction

  • Kumar DharmarajanEmail author
  • Harlan M. Krumholz
Cardiovascular Disease in the Elderly (DE Forman, Section Editor)


Readmission within 30 days after hospital discharge for common cardiovascular conditions such as heart failure and acute myocardial infarction is extremely common among older persons. To incentivize investment in reducing preventable rehospitalizations, the United States federal government has directed increasing financial penalties to hospitals with higher-than-expected 30-day readmission rates. Uncertainty exists, however, regarding the best approaches to reducing these adverse outcomes. In this review, we summarize the literature on predictors of 30-day readmission, the utility of risk prediction models, and strategies to reduce short-term readmission after hospitalization for heart failure and acute myocardial infarction. We report that few variables have been found to consistently predict the occurrence of 30-day readmission and that risk prediction models lack strong discriminative ability. We additionally report that the literature on interventions to reduce 30-day rehospitalization has significant limitations due to heterogeneity, susceptibility to bias, and lack of reporting on important contextual factors and details of program implementation. New information is characterizing the period after hospitalization as a time of high generalized risk, which has been termed the post-hospital syndrome. This framework for characterizing inherent post-discharge instability suggests new approaches to reducing readmissions.


Readmission Rehospitalization Heart failure Acute myocardial infarction Care transitions Post-hospital syndrome Elderly 



Dr. Dharmarajan is supported by grant K23AG048331-01 from the National Institute on Aging and the American Federation for Aging Research through the Paul B. Beeson Career Development Award Program. Dr. Krumholz is supported by grant 1U01HL105270-04 (Center for Cardiovascular Outcomes Research at Yale University) from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not represent the official views of the NIA or NHLBI.

Compliance with Ethics Guidelines

Conflict of Interest

Kumar Dharmarajan declares that he has no conflict of interest.

Harlan M. Krumholz works under contract with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to develop and maintain performance measures. Dr. Krumholz is also the chair of a cardiac scientific advisory board for UnitedHealth and is the recipient of research grants from both Johnson & Johnson and Medtronic, through Yale University, to develop methods of clinical trial data-sharing.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.


Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Section of Cardiovascular Medicine, Department of Internal MedicineYale University School of MedicineNew HavenUSA
  2. 2.Center for Outcomes Research and EvaluationYale-New Haven HospitalNew HavenUSA
  3. 3.The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholars Program, Department of Internal MedicineYale University School of MedicineNew HavenUSA
  4. 4.Department of Health Policy and ManagementYale University School of Public HealthNew HavenUSA

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