According to a recent study titled ”Trajectories of risk after hospitalization for heart failure, acute myocardial infarction, or pneumonia: retrospective cohort study,” patients that are discharged after hospitalization for heart failure are at increased risk of rehospitalization or death for up to a year.
In this study, published in British Medical Journal, a research team led by Dr. Kumar Dharmarajan from the Section of Cardiovascular Medicine at Yale University School of Medicine evaluated more than 3 million Medicare beneficiaries aged 65 years or above that survived hospitalization for heart failure, acute myocardial infarction, and pneumonia from 2008 to 2010.
Results revealed that risk of readmission and death decreased slowly after hospitalization for heart failure, acute myocardial infarction, or pneumonia and remained increased for months. The results also showed that particular risk courses diverge depending on the diagnosis at discharge and outcome. As an example, the risk of readmission remained higher for a longer period after hospitalization for patients with heart failure when compared to patients who had acute myocardial infarction and pneumonia. The researchers indicate that for all the three disorders, the risk of readmission to the hospital remained increased for a longer period than the risk of death.
Based on these findings, the researchers suggest that patients should be vigilant for their potential health decline after hospital discharge for a long period of time. Health professionals should also be aware of these risk and design interventions specifically aimed at reducing potential adverse outcomes.
“If we can track absolute risks and their changes over time, this information will be critical in helping patients and hospitals set realistic expectations and goals for recovery, and plan for appropriate care after discharge,” said lead author Kumar Dharmarajan, M.D., assistant professor of medicine (cardiology) at Yale School of Medicine in a recent news release. “As our health system increasingly focuses on improving long-term health and personalizing care, this information can help hospitals focus their interventions during the highest risk periods for patients.”
“Patients should remain vigilant for deterioration in health for an extended time after hospitalization,” Dr. Dharmarajan added. “This might mean checking in more often with a primary care physician or specialist.”