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Cardiol Clin. 2005 Nov;23(4):569-88, viii.

Using the emergency department clinical decision unit for acute decompensated heart failure.

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Department of Emergency Medicine, The Cleveland Clinic, OH 44195, USA.


Acute decompensated heart failure (ADHF) is a complex disease of epidemic proportions. In the United States, it accounts for more than 1 million hospitalizations annually,and heart failure represents the single greatest cost to the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Studies. Half of the annual costs are estimated to be the result of hospitalization. Compared with other pathology, heart failure has a very high hospitalization rate, with 80% of emergency department ADHF patients being admitted. This high rate has resulted from the lack of successful management predictors available to the emergency physician and the lack of any disposition option other than hospitalization for the ADHF patient. The emergency department observation unit offers an alternative to hospitalization for patients with ADHF. Validated protocols have demonstrated that in ADHF, intensive short-term therapeutic, diagnostic, and educational protocols result in a marked improvement in hospitalization rates, while at the same time decreasing costs. New risk stratification data can aid in the identification of the appropriate candidate. The observation unit now represents a nonhospitalization disposition option for patients presenting to the emergency department with ADHF.viii CO.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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