Heart failure and palliative care in the emergency department.

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Heart failure and palliative care in the emergency department.

Emerg Med J. 2018 Jul 24;:

Authors: Lipinski M, Eagles D, Fischer LM, Mielniczuk L, Stiell IG

OBJECTIVES: Heart failure is a common ED presentation that is underserved by palliative care services and is associated with significant morbidity and mortality. We sought to evaluate use of palliative care services in patients with heart failure presenting to the ED. The primary outcome studied was palliative care involvement. Secondary outcomes of the study were: (1) 1-year mortality, (2) ED visits, (3) hospital admissions and (4) heart failure clinic involvement.
METHODS: We conducted a health records review of 500 patients with heart failure who presented to two Canadian academic hospital EDs from January to August 2013.
RESULTS: Patients were of mean age 80.7 years, women (53.2%) and had significant comorbidities. Only 41% of all deceased patients at 1 year had any palliative care involvement. Of those with palliative care, 44 (76%) patients had less than 2 weeks of palliative care involvement prior to death. Compared with those with no palliative care, the 79 (15.8%) patients with palliative care involvement had a higher 1-year mortality rate (70.9% vs 18.8%) and more hospital admissions/year (1.4 vs 0.85) for heart failure.
CONCLUSIONS: We found that few patients with heart failure had palliative care services. Additionally, the majority of those who have palliative care involvement do not meet current recommendations for early palliative care involvement in heart failure. This study suggests that the ED may be an appropriate setting to identify and refer high-risk patients with heart failure who could benefit from earlier palliative care involvement.

PMID: 30042165 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

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