Characteristics and outcomes of patients with heart failure discharged from different speciality units in Australia: an observational study

Y. Sharma, C. Horwood, P. Hakendorf, C. Thompson

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Previous studies have reported differing clinical outcomes among hospitalized heart failure (HF) patients admitted under cardiology and general medicine (GM) without consideration of patients’ frailty.

To explore outcomes in patients admitted under the two specialities after taking into account their frailty and other characteristics.

This retrospective study included all HF patients ≥18 years admitted between 1 January 2013 and 31 December 2019 at two Australian tertiary hospitals. Frailty was determined by use of the Hospital Frailty Risk Score (HFRS) and patients with HFRS ≥ 5 were classified as frail. Propensity score matching (PSM) was used to match 11 variables between the two specialities. The primary outcomes included the days-alive-and-out-of-hospital (DAOH90) at 90 days of discharge, 30-day mortality and readmissions.

Of 4913 HF patients, mean age 76.2 (14.1) years, 51% males, 2653 (54%) were admitted under cardiology compared to 2260 (46%) under GM. Patients admitted under GM were more likely to be older females, with a higher Charlson index and poor renal function than those admitted under cardiology. Overall, 23.8% patients were frail and frail patients were more likely to be admitted under GM than cardiology (33.6% vs. 15.3%, P < 0.001). PSM created 1532 well-matched patients in each group. After PSM, the DAOH90 was not significantly different among patients admitted in GM when compared to cardiology (coefficient −5.36, 95% confidence interval −11.73 to 1.01, P = 0.099). Other clinical outcomes were also similar between the two specialities.

Clinical characteristics of HF patients differ between GM and cardiology; however, clinical outcomes were not significantly different after taking into account frailty and other variables.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages8
JournalQJM-An International Journal of Medicine
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 17 Feb 2022


  • Cardiology
  • Heart disease
  • Outpatient care
  • Patient outcomes
  • Heart failure


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