Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Simple blood test at discharge could help reduce hospital readmissions for heart failure patients

An inexpensive, routine blood test could hold the key to why some patients with congestive heart failure do well after being discharged from the hospital and why others risk relapse, costly readmission or death within a year, new Johns Hopkins research suggests.

In a study reported online by the American Journal of Cardiology, Henry J. Michtalik, M.D., M.P.H., and his colleagues tested heart failure patients on admission and discharge for levels of a protein that's considered a marker for heart stress. In previous studies, the levels of this protein, N-terminal pro-B-type natriuretic peptide, or NT-proBNP, have been correlated with heart failure symptoms and have been associated with an increase in adverse outcomes.

They found that patients whose protein levels dropped by less than 50 percent over the course of their hospital stay were 57 percent more likely to be readmitted or die within a year than those whose levels dropped by a greater percentage.

Testing for NT-proBNP at the beginning and end of hospitalization, Michtalik says, could help doctors and hospitals make better decisions about which patients are truly ready to be released and which ones are at higher risk for relapse, readmission or worse. Typically, he adds, patients are already tested for this heart failure marker upon admission.

"These patients feel better. They look better. But this study suggests many of them may not be completely better," says Michtalik, a research and clinical fellow in the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine's Division of General Internal Medicine. "Even though a doctor has determined the patient is ready to go home, a change in this biological marker of less than 50 percent means the patients are at much higher risk and would likely benefit from more intensive treatment, monitoring or outpatient follow up."

Congestive heart failure occurs when the heart can't pump enough blood to meet the demands of the body, resulting in heart enlargement and fluid swelling. It is most often caused by coronary artery disease, high blood pressure, heart valve disease and alcohol abuse. Roughly 5.7 million people in the United States have heart failure, which kills about 300,000 each year, and results in repeat hospitalizations for many patients. Readmission rates are a focus of efforts to reduce health care costs, Michtalik notes.

Michtalik and his colleagues studied 241 heart failure patients admitted to The Johns Hopkins Hospital between June 2006 and April 2007 who were treated with intravenous diuretics to remove fluid from the body.

Within the first 24 hours, blood was drawn from the patients and tested for NT-proBNP, and patients were treated for their symptoms by their individual doctors. Though the patients' NT-proBNP levels were tested again at discharge, the decision for or against discharge was determined by clinical judgment alone and the treating physicians were not aware of the protein's level at discharge.

Analysis showed that patients whose protein levels decreased by less than 50 percent over the course of the several days to a week that they were in the hospital were at the highest risk for readmission or death.

"Our research suggests that maybe clinical judgment isn't enough to decide whether a heart failure patient is ready to be discharged," he says. "These patients may benefit from being treated until the heart failure marker, NT-proBNP, decreases by a certain percentage, something that is not considered now."

Michtalik says a good next step would be a prospective randomized trial that examines whether hospitalized heart failure patients do better when their doctors work intensively to decrease the heart failure marker over the course of their hospital stays.

Other Johns Hopkins researchers involved in this study include Hsin-Chieh Yeh, Ph.D.; Catherine Y. Campbell, M.D.; Nowreen Haq, M.D., M.P.H.; Haesong Park, M.D., M.P.H.; William Clarke, Ph.D., M.B.A.; and Daniel J. Brotman, M.D.

Stephanie Desmon | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Inflammation Triggers Unsustainable Immune Response to Chronic Viral Infection
24.10.2016 | Universität Basel

nachricht Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia
21.10.2016 | Universitätsklinikum Magdeburg

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Oasis of life in the ice-covered central Arctic

24.10.2016 | Earth Sciences

‘Farming’ bacteria to boost growth in the oceans

24.10.2016 | Life Sciences

Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

24.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

More VideoLinks >>>