Trends in 30-day readmissions following hospitalisation for heart failure by sex, socioeconomic status and ethnicity

Lawson C, Crothers H, Remsing S, Squire I, Zaccardi F, Davies Md Bernhardt L, Reeves K, Lilford R, Khunti K

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Background: Reducing the high patient and economic burden of early readmissions after hospitalisation for heart failure (HF) has become a health policy priority of recent years.

Methods: An observational study linking Hospital Episode Statistics to socioeconomic and death data in England (2002-2018). All first hospitalisations with a primary discharge code for HF were identified. Quasi-poisson models were used to investigate trends in 30-day readmissions by age, sex, socioeconomic status and ethnicity.

Findings: There were 698,983 HF admissions, median age 81 years [IQR 14].In-hospital deaths reduced by 0.7% per annum (pa), whilst additional deaths at 30-days remained stable at 5%. Age adjusted 30-day readmissions (21% overall), increased by 1.4% pa (95% CI 1.3-1.5). Readmissions for HF (6%) and 'other cardiovascular disease (CVD)' (3%) remained stable, but readmissions for non-CVD causes (12%) increased at a rate of 2.6% (2.4-2.7) pa. Proportions were similar by sex but trends diverged by ethnicity. Black groups experienced an increase in readmissions for HF (1.8% pa, interaction-p 0.03) and South Asian groups had more rapidly increasing readmission rates for non-CVD causes (interaction-p 0.04). Non-CVD readmissions were also more prominent in the least (15%; 15-15) compared to the most affluent group (12%; 12-12). Strongest predictors for HF readmission were Black ethnicity and chronic kidney disease, whilst cardiac procedures were protective. For non-CVD readmissions, strongest predictors were non-CVD comorbidities, whilst cardiologist care was protective.

Interpretation: In HF, despite readmission reduction policies, 30-day readmissions have increased, impacting the least affluent and ethnic minority groups the most.

Funding: NIHR.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101008
Pages (from-to)101008
Early online date14 Jul 2021
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2021


  • heart failure
  • hospitalisation
  • readmission


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