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Heart Fail Rev. 2012 May;17(3):387-94. doi: 10.1007/s10741-011-9294-7.

Early changes in clinical characteristics after emergency department therapy for acute heart failure syndromes: identifying patients who do not respond to standard therapy.

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  • 1Department of Emergency Medicine, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN 47232, USA. sean.collins@vanderbilt.edu


Clinical trials for acute heart failure syndromes (AHFS) have traditionally enrolled patients well after emergency department (ED) presentation. We hypothesized a large proportion of patients would undergo changes in clinical profiles during the first 24 h of hospitalization, and these changes would be associated with adverse events. We evaluated a prospective cohort of patients with clinical data available at ED presentation and 12-24 h after ED treatment for AHFS. Patients were categorized into distinct clinical profiles at these time points based on (1) systolic blood pressure: a-hypertensive (>160 mmHg); b-normotensive (100-159 mmHg); or c-hypotensive (<100 mmHg); (2) moderate-to-severe renal dysfunction (GFR ≤ 60 ml/min/1.73 m(2)); and (3) presence of troponin positivity. A composite outcome of 30-day cardiovascular events was determined by phone follow-up. In the 370 patients still hospitalized with data available at the 12-24 h time point, 196 (53.0%) had changed their clinical profiles, with 117 (59.7%) improving and 79 (40.3%) worsening. The composite 30-day event rate was 16.9%. Patients whose clinical profile started and stayed abnormal had a significantly greater proportion of events than those who started and stayed normal (26.1% vs. 11.3%; P = 0.03). Patients with abnormal clinical profiles at presentation that remain abnormal throughout the first 12-24 h of hospitalization are at increased risk of 30-day adverse events. Future clinical trials may need to consider targeting these patients, as they may be the most likely to benefit from experimental therapy.

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