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Editorial
October 19, 2011

Hospitalizations for Heart Failure in the United States—A Sign of Hope

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Center for Cardiovascular Innovation, Department of Medicine, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, Illinois (Dr Gheorghiade); and TIMI Study Group, Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts (Dr Braunwald).

JAMA. 2011;306(15):1705-1706. doi:10.1001/jama.2011.1510

Heart failure (HF) is the most common cause of hospitalization in patients older than 65 years in the United States.1 In the early 1990s, data from clinical trials and registries demonstrated that in patients hospitalized with HF, mortality and rehospitalization rates could be as high as 15% and 30%, respectively, at 60 to 90 days after discharge.2,3 During this period, major efforts were directed toward reducing the length of stay in patients hospitalized with HF.4 Performance measures were developed and later adopted by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) with the intent to improve postdischarge outcomes.5 Although these measures were implemented across the country, the rehospitalization rate for patients with HF did not appear to decrease.4,6 Recently, because of changes in CMS reimbursement patterns, the focus has shifted toward 30-day postdischarge readmission rates as a measure of care.

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