Heart failure (HF) affects millions of Americans and causes financial burdens because of the need for rehospitalization. For this reason, health care systems and patients alike are seeking methods to decrease readmissions. We assessed the potential for reducing readmissions of patients with postacute care HF through an educational program combined with enhanced external counterpulsation (EECP). We examined 99 patients with HF who were referred to EECP centers and received heart failure education and EECP treatment within 90 days of hospital discharge from March 2013 to January 2015. We compared observed and predicted 90-day readmission rates and examined results of 6-minute walk tests, Duke Activity Status Index, New York Heart Association classification, and Canadian Cardiovascular Society classification before and after EECP. Patients were treated with EECP at a median augmentation pressure of 280 mm Hg (quartile 1 = 240, quartile 3 = 280), achieved as early as the first treatment. Augmentation ratios varied from 0.4 to 1.9, with a median of 1.0 (quartile 1 = 0.8, quartile 3 = 1.2). Only 6 patients (6.1%) had unplanned readmissions compared to the predicted 34%, p <0.0001. The average increase in distance walked was 52 m (18.4%), and the median increase in Duke Activity Status Index was 9.95 points (100%), p values <0.0001. New York Heart Association and Canadian Cardiovascular Society classes improved in 61% and 60% of the patients, respectively. In conclusion, patients with HF who received education and EECP within 90 days of discharge had significantly lower readmission rates than predicted, and improved functional status, walk distance, and symptoms.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine