The challenge of heart failure discharge from the emergency department

Edwin C. Ho, Michael J. Schull, Douglas S. Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Acute decompensated heart failure is a common reason for presentation to the emergency department and is associated with high rates of admission to hospital. Distinguishing between higher-risk patients needing hospitalization and lower-risk patients suitable for discharge home is important to optimize both cost-effectiveness and clinical outcomes. However, this can be challenging and few validated risk stratification tools currently exist to help clinicians. Some prognostic variables predict risks broadly in those who are admitted or discharged from the emergency department. Risk stratification methods such as the Emergency Heart Failure Mortality Risk Grade and Acute Heart Failure Index clinical decision support tools, which utilize many of these predictors, have been found to be accurate in identifying low-risk patients. The use of observation units may also be a costeffective adjunctive strategy that can assist in determining disposition from the emergency department.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)252-259
Number of pages8
JournalCurrent heart failure reports
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Emergency department
  • Heart failure
  • Hospital discharge
  • Hospitalization
  • Risk stratification

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)


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