Associations Between Short or Long Length of Stay and 30-Day Readmission and Mortality in Hospitalized Patients With Heart Failure

Maneesh Sud, Bing Yu, Harindra C. Wijeysundera, Peter C. Austin, Dennis T. Ko, Juarez Braga, Peter Cram, John A. Spertus, Michael Domanski, Douglas S. Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives This study sought to examine the associations between heart failure (HF)-related hospital length of stay and 30-day readmissions and HF hospital length of stay and mortality rates. Background Although reducing HF readmission and mortality rates are health care priorities, how HF-related hospital length of stay affects these outcomes is not fully known. Methods A population-level, multicenter cohort study of 58,230 patients with HF (age >65 years) was conducted in Ontario, Canada between April 1, 2003 and March 31, 2012. Results When length of stay was modeled as continuous variable, its association with the rate of cardiovascular readmission was nonlinear (p < 0.001 for nonlinearity) and U-shaped. When analyzed as a categorical variable, there was a higher rate of cardiovascular readmission for short (1 to 2 days; adjusted hazard ratio [HR]: 1.12; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.04 to 1.21; p = 0.003) and long (9 to 14 days; HR: 1.11; 95% CI: 1.04 to 1.19; p = 0.002) lengths of stay as compared with 5 to 6 days (reference). Hospital readmissions for HF demonstrated a similar nonlinear (p = 0.005 for nonlinearity) U-shaped relationship with increased rates for short (HR: 1.15; 95% CI: 1.04 to 1.27; p = 0.006) and long (HR: 1.14; 95% CI: 1.04 to 1.25; p = 0.004) lengths of stay. Noncardiovascular readmissions demonstrated increased rates with long (HR: 1.17; 95% CI: 1.07 to 1.29; p < 0.001) and decreased rates with short (HR: 0.87; 95% CI: 0.79 to 0.96; p = 0.006) lengths of stay (p = 0.53 for nonlinearity). The 30-day mortality risk was highest after a long length of stay (HR: 1.28; 95% CI: 1.14 to 1.43; p < 0.001). Conclusions A short length of stay after hospitalization for HF is associated with increased rates of cardiovascular and HF readmissions but lower rates of noncardiovascular readmissions. A long length of stay is associated with increased rates of all types of readmission and mortality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)578-588
Number of pages11
JournalJACC: Heart Failure
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • heart failure
  • length of stay
  • mortality
  • readmissions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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