(HealthDay News) — For patients with heart failure, follow-up care within 7 days of discharge from the emergency department is associated with lower rates of long-term mortality and subsequent admissions, according to a study published in CMAJ, the journal of the Canadian Medical Association.

Clare L. Atzema, MD, from the University of Toronto, and colleagues conducted a retrospective cohort study among adult patients discharged from 1 of 163 emergency departments with a primary diagnosis of heart failure.

The researchers found that 47.1 and 83.6% of 34,519 patients obtained follow-up care within 7 and 30 days, respectively. The rate of mortality over 1 year was lower for patients with follow-up care within 7 days vs those with follow-up within 8 to 30 days (hazard ratio, 0.92); in addition, the rate of hospital admission over 90 days and 1 year was reduced (hazard ratios, 0.87 and 0.92, respectively) for those with follow-up care within 7 days. There was a trend toward a lower mortality rate over 90 days. Compared with patients without 30-day follow-up, follow-up care within 30 days was correlated with a reduction in 1-year mortality (hazard ratio, 0.89) but not hospital admission.

“Obtaining early follow-up for all of these patients will require a transition in systematic care between emergency and longitudinal care, via collaboration between administrators, researchers, clinicians, and information technology specialists,” the authors write.

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Atzema CL, Austin PC, Yu B, et al. Effect of early physician follow-up on mortality and subsequent hospital admissions after emergency care for heart failure: a retrospective cohort study. CMAJ December 17, 2018;190(50):E1468-E1477. DOI:10.1503/cmaj.180786