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Top Hospitals Have Slightly Better Heart Failure Outcomes

However, study suggests readmission rates are similar regardless of ranking

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 2 (HealthDay News) -- Although hospitals ranked by the U.S. News & World Report as the best providers of heart care and surgery achieve better 30-day mortality rates than their non-ranked counterparts, readmission rates are similar regardless of ranking, according to a study published online Sept. 1 in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes.

Gregory K. Mulvey, of the University of Connecticut School of Medicine in Farmingham, and colleagues analyzed heart failure patient data on 14,813 admissions to 50 ranked hospitals and 409,806 patients admitted to 4,761 non-ranked hospitals, and compared mean risk-standardized mortality rates and readmission rates.

The mean 30-day risk-standardized mortality rate was 10.1 percent for ranked hospitals, compared with 11.2 percent for non-ranked hospitals, the investigators discovered. However, risk-standardized readmission rates were almost the same for both ranked and non-ranked hospitals, at 23.6 and 23.8 percent, respectively. The authors further note that there was also wide variation across both ranked and non-ranked institutions.

"Some of the nation's best known institutions have mixed outcomes for the care of patients with heart failure, the most common heart disease-related reason for admission to the hospital," Mulvey and colleagues conclude. "For readmission, there is little evidence of better performance by the ranked hospitals, indicating that outstanding performance in this area is not the sole province of the country's best known teaching institutions."

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