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Associations between short or long length of stay with 30-day readmission and mortality in hospitalized patients with heart failure


Objectives — This study sought to examine the associations between heart failure (HF)-related hospital length of stay and 30-day readmissions and HF hospital length of stay and mortality rates.

Background — Although reducing HF readmission and mortality rates are healthcare priorities, how HF-related hospital length of stay affects these outcomes is not fully known.

Methods — A population-level, multicenter cohort study of 58,230 patients with HF (age >65 years) was conducted in Ontario, Canada between April 1, 2003 and March 31, 2012.

Results — When length of stay was modeled as continuous variable, its association with the rate of cardiovascular readmission was nonlinear (p < 0.001 for nonlinearity) and U-shaped. When analyzed as a categorical variable, there was a higher rate of cardiovascular readmission for short (1 to 2 days; adjusted hazard ratio [HR]: 1.12; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.04 to 1.21; p = 0.003) and long (9 to 14 days; HR: 1.11; 95% CI: 1.04 to 1.19; p = 0.002) lengths of stay as compared with 5 to 6 days (reference). Hospital readmissions for HF demonstrated a similar nonlinear (p = 0.005 for nonlinearity) U-shaped relationship with increased rates for short (HR: 1.15; 95% CI: 1.04 to 1.27; p = 0.006) and long (HR: 1.14; 95% CI: 1.04 to 1.25; p = 0.004) lengths of stay. Noncardiovascular readmissions demonstrated increased rates with long (HR: 1.17; 95% CI: 1.07 to 1.29; p < 0.001) and decreased rates with short (HR: 0.87; 95% CI: 0.79 to 0.96; p = 0.006) lengths of stay (p = 0.53 for nonlinearity). The 30-day mortality risk was highest after a long length of stay (HR: 1.28; 95% CI: 1.14 to 1.43; p < 0.001).

Conclusions — A short length of stay after hospitalization for HF is associated with increased rates of cardiovascular and HF readmissions but lower rates of noncardiovascular readmissions. A long length of stay is associated with increased rates of all types of readmission and mortality.



Sud M, Yu B, Wijeysundera HC, Austin PC, Ko DT, Braga J, Cram P, Spertus JA, Domanski M, Lee DS. JACC Heart Fail. 2017; 5(8):578-88. Epub 2017 May 10.

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