Perfect performance on heart failure measures does not lower mortality rate

Performing perfectly on four core heart failure care measures monitored and publicly reported by the Joint Commission and recommended by the American Heart Association results in reduced readmission rates, but does not impact mortality rates for heart failure, according to MedPage Today.

According to the article, Sharp Memorial Hospital presented findings from a study at a recent Heart Failure Society of America meeting.  For the analysis, researchers reviewed data from electronic medical records and the Social Security database for 1,270 heart failure patients discharged over a 1-year period.   

Care was considered “perfect” if heart failure patients went home with detailed discharge instructions, had ejection fraction measurement, were offered smoking cessation instructions (if they smoked), and were offered ACE inhibitors or angiotensin-receptor blockers if ejection fraction was under 40%.  In addition, those with low ejection fraction must be discharged on a beta blocker.

Key findings:

  • 80% of patients received  "perfect" care
  •  30 –day readmission rates were 24% lower for those patients who received “perfect” care.
  • One-year mortality rate was the same for both groups.
  • One-year readmission rates were similar, at 56 and 57% 


The researchers concluded that key to better long-term outcomes in heart failure may mean turning attention to outpatient care, including ongoing medication adherence and symptom monitoring.

(Sources: The Advisory Board Daily Briefing,, September 17, 2012; MedPage Today,, September 13, 2012)