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Ann Emerg Med. 2008 Jan;51(1):37-44. Epub 2007 Nov 28.

Validation of the Acute Heart Failure Index.

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Department of Emergency Medicine, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA, USA.



Validate a clinical prediction rule prognostic of short-term fatal and inpatient nonfatal outcomes for heart failure patients admitted through the emergency department.


We retrospectively studied a random cohort of 8,384 adult patients admitted to Pennsylvania hospitals in 2003 and 2004 with a diagnosis of heart failure as defined by primary discharge diagnosis codes. We reported the proportions of inpatient death, serious medical complications before discharge, and 30-day death in the patients identified as low risk by the prediction rule.


The prediction rule classified 1,609 (19.2%) of the patients as low risk. Within this subgroup, there were 12 (0.7%; 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.3% to 1.2%) inpatient deaths, 28 (1.7%; 95% CI 1.1% to 2.4%) patients survived to hospital discharge after a serious complication, and 47 (2.9%; 95% CI 2.1% to 3.7%) patients died within 30 days of the index hospitalization.


This prediction rule identifies a group of admitted heart failure patients at low risk of inpatient mortal and nonmortal complications. Our validation findings suggest the rule could assist physicians in making site-of-care decisions for this patient population and aid in analyzing presenting illness burden in study populations.

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