(HealthDay News) – Individuals with frequent emergency department visits for acute heart failure syndrome (AHFS) account for the majority of hospitalizations and hospital charges for AHFS, according to a study published online Aug. 19 in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes.

Kohei Hasegawa, MD, MPH, from Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, and colleagues retrospectively reviewed multipayer data from 175,491 emergency department visits among 113,033 adults with AHFS between 2010 and 2011 seen in California and Florida.

The researchers found that over the one-year timespan, 30.8% of patients had at least two (frequent) visits, accounting for 55.4% of all emergency department visits for AHFS. Significant predictors of frequent visits were non-Hispanic black race, Hispanic ethnicity, Medicaid insurance, and lower median household income (all P<0.001). More than half (55%) of all AHFS hospitalizations were accounted for via the emergency department by patients with frequent visits. In Florida alone, total charges for AHFS were $3.08 billion, with patients with frequent emergency department visits accounting for 53.3% of total charges.

“In this large cohort study, we found that one-third (31%) of emergency department patients with AHFS had frequent emergency department visits for this condition and that minority race/ethnicity and lower socioeconomic status were associated with frequent emergency department visits,” the authors write.

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