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Comparison of readmission and death among patients with cardiac disease in Northern vs Southern Ontario

Donio PJ, Freitas C, Austin PC, Ross HJ, Abdel-Qadir HM, Wijeysundera HC, Tu K, Cram P, Liu P, Abrams H, Udell JA, Mak S, Farkouh ME, Tu JV, Wang X, Tobe SW, Lee DS. Can J Cardiol. 2019; 35(3):341-51. Epub 2019 Feb 28.


Background — Geographic factors may influence cardiovascular disease outcomes in Canada. Circulatory diseases are a major reason for higher population mortality rates in Northern Ontario, but it is unknown if hospitalized patients with cardiovascular disease experience differential outcomes compared with those in the South.

Methods — We examined 30-day and 1-year mortality and readmissions for patients hospitalized with acute myocardial infarction (AMI), heart failure (HF), atrial fibrillation (AF), or stroke in Northern compared with Southern Ontario, using the Canadian Institute for Health Information Discharge Abstract Database (2005-2016). Northern patients were defined as those residing and hospitalized in the Northwest or Northeast Local Health Integration Network regions. We used multiple Cox proportional hazards regression analysis for time-to-first event and Prentice-Williams-Peterson method to evaluate repeat and multiply admitted patients.

Results — A total of 47,745 Northern and 465,353 Southern patients hospitalized with AMI (n = 182,158), HF (n = 130,770), AF (n = 72,326), or stroke (n = 127,844) were studied. Rates of first readmission were higher among Northern patients for AMI (adjusted hazard ratio [HR], 1.32), HF (HR, 1.16), AF (HR, 1.21), and stroke (HR, 1.27) compared with Southern patients (all P < 0.001). Repeat readmission rates among Northern patients for AMI (HR, 1.23), HF (HR, 1.13), AF (HR, 1.18), and stroke (HR, 1.22) were also increased (all P < 0.001 vs Southern). Thirty-day mortality did not differ significantly between Northern and Southern patients.

Conclusions — Readmissions were increased in those residing and hospitalized in the North. To reduce readmissions in the North, the quality of postacute transitional care should be examined further.

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