Adverse event rates for hospitalized MI, CHF declining

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Adverse events among patients hospitalized with acute MI and congestive heart failure (CHF) significantly decreased between 2005 and 2011, a study published online Jan. 23 in The New England Journal of Medicine found. The trend was very different, however, among patients admitted for pneumonia and other conditions that required surgery.

Yun Wang, PhD, of Qualidigm, a healthcare consulting firm, and colleagues used Medicare Patient Safety Monitoring System data on 21 adverse events among patients in U.S. hospitals for acute MI, CHF, pneumonia or conditions needing surgery. They determined the patterns of adverse events related to each condition among 61,523 patients.

Between 2005 and 2011, the rate of MI-related adverse events decreased from 5 percent to 3.7 percent. The proportion of MI patients with at least one adverse event decreased from 26 percent to 19.4 percent and the number of adverse events per 1,000 hospitalizations decreased from 401.9 to 262.2.

The rate of adverse events also declined among patients with CHF (3.7 percent to 2.7 percent). The proportion of patients with at least one adverse event decreased from 17.5 percent to 14.2 percent and the number of adverse events per 1,000 hospitalizations decreased from 235.2 to 166.9. The rates of adverse events among patients with pneumonia or other conditions did not significantly decline.

“These declines might reflect overall national efforts to improve patient safety during the study period and secular trends in hospital quality-of-care improvements for acute myocardial infarction and congestive heart failure, because these conditions have been the focus of numerous national initiatives to improve care,” the authors argued.

They also wrote that they found the trends for pneumonia and other conditions requiring surgery “disappointing” and suggestive of the need to better ensure patient safety.