The vulnerable phase after hospitalization for heart failure.

Journal Article (Journal Article;Review)

Despite available therapy, mortality and readmission rates within 60-90 days of discharge for patients hospitalized with heart failure (HF) approach 15% and 30%, respectively. This early postdischarge period has been termed the 'vulnerable phase' and accounts for a disproportionate amount of the >US$30 billion spent annually on HF care in the USA. The pathophysiology underlying these early adverse events is likely associated with persistently elevated filling pressures at time of discharge and subsequent acute or subacute worsening of postdischarge haemodynamics. Despite limited proven strategies to reduce early adverse events, hospitals in the USA face penalties for 30-day readmission rates that exceed current expectations, and an urgent need exists for novel approaches to improve early postdischarge outcomes. The objective of this Review is to describe the early postdischarge problem among patients hospitalized for HF, the associated patient profile and pathophysiology, and the limitations of current postdischarge treatment strategies. We also identify therapeutic targets and outline a progressive management approach that should be considered by clinicians for reducing early postdischarge morbidity and mortality. Although these strategies require prospective validation, they are practical, affordable, and have the potential to improve patient outcomes substantially after HF hospitalization.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Greene, SJ; Fonarow, GC; Vaduganathan, M; Khan, SS; Butler, J; Gheorghiade, M

Published Date

  • April 2015

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 12 / 4

Start / End Page

  • 220 - 229

PubMed ID

  • 25666406

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1759-5010

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1038/nrcardio.2015.14


  • eng

Conference Location

  • England