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Comparing Heart Failure Hospitalization Vs Short Stay Units

Heart Failure Hospitalization Vs Short Stay Units

Patients with acute heart failure who are managed in the emergency department are routinely admitted for stabilization. The concept of short-stay units for low-risk patients was explored in a study.

The concept of the study was to see whether short-stay units could minimize hospitalizations, speed up recovery, and improve overall outcomes in patients with heart failure or not.

Heart Failure Hospitalization Vs Short Stay Units: Key points:

  • Over a million people are hospitalized in the USA due to heart failure. To look for a solution, a study investigated how effective short-stay units (SSUs) are for lower-risk patients dealing with sudden heart failure.
  • The scientists wanted to see how long patients could stay away from the hospital in the first month after treatment. They then compared this between two types of care: short-stay units and hospitalization.
  • This research took place from December 2017 to July 2021. They picked heart failure patients at lower risk and randomly put them into two groups: some got regular hospital care, and others went to short-stay units (SSUs). Because of COVID-19, only 193 people could be in the study.

The American Heart Association, in partnership with the National Institutes of Health, releases data annually on conditions such as heart disease, stroke, and factors influencing cardiovascular health.

It includes elements such as physical inactivity, weight, diet, smoking, and other associated traits.

About 6.7 million adults over 20 suffer from heart failure (HF), and by 2030, that figure is expected to rise to 8.5 million [ref].

Patients with HF face serious events when they are hospitalized. When comparing hospitalized patients with chronic heart failure to non-hospitalized patients, the former experience a higher mortality rate.

A study published in JAMA this week suggested that patients with a lower risk of heart failure or AHF might benefit more from short-stay units (SSUs) as compared to prolonged hospitalization.

Since nearly 80% of HF patients are hospitalized, this alternative solution can be an effective strategy to minimize their stay and improve their health.

heart failure sick old man



Heart Failure Hospitalization: Study methodology and analysis

This study aimed to compare the effectiveness of short-stay units (SSU) versus hospitalization for patients with acute heart failure (AHF) who were at lower risk. 

The researchers randomly assigned 193 low-risk AHF patients to either be admitted from the emergency department or receive less than 24 hours of SSU care.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the original immediate outcome of “days alive and out of the hospital” (DAOOH) was replaced with a 12-item Kansas City Cardiomyopathy Questionnaire (KCCQ-12) score that measures quality of life.

Following their discharge, participants underwent follow-up at 30 and 90 days.

After 30 days, there was not a significant difference in how patients felt between those in short-stay units (SSU) and those in the hospital.

But interestingly, the SSU group left the hospital about 1.6 days earlier than the hospital group.

Both groups had similar, not-so-bad side effects. In terms of how people felt, the study suggests that SSU care is just as good as being in the hospital, maybe even better at keeping people from coming back, and it seems safe for people with not-so-severe heart problems.

Further studies concerning a larger sample size are necessary to validate these findings and comprehend the impact of SSU care on overall healthcare utilization.

woman in hospital heart failure



Practical Tips to Avoid Acute Heart Failure Hospitalization:

Being in a hospital is a nightmare for everyone which is why we have enlisted some practical tips for you. Follow these to make sure your heart remains in a healthy state.

Balanced Diet:

Heart-healthy sandwiches low-calorie, low-sodium, and low-fat diet.
Low Sodium Fast Foods

The first step to a healthy diet is adding diversity. Eating from the same food group can be rather unhealthy as it may lead to micronutrient deficiencies.

Eat a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins to get essential nutrients and to keep your heart healthy.

Foods high in cholesterol, trans fats, saturated fats, salt, and added sugars should be avoided because they raise the risk of heart failure.

Choose the healthy fats, which are found in nuts, avocados, and olive oil; these will benefit your heart.

This healthy way of eating can help you prolong the health of your heart. To improve your lifestyle, try talking to a dietitian to get customized diet plans according to your conditions.

Physical activity:

aerobic exercise for migraine prevention
Running is the best form of exercise

Try exercising for up to 150 minutes a week, which is excellent for cardiac health. You can do brisk walking, jogging, cycling, or swimming.

Also, try to do strength training exercises twice a week to strengthen your heart and muscles.

But before you start any new exercises, it’s a good idea to talk to a doctor, especially if you already have health issues like heart failure.

Go to your doctor:

No harm comes from getting your health checked by a healthcare professional routinely.

Sometimes, a check-up can help you diagnose a condition at its early stage, so it can be treated on time. If you have diabetes or other health issues, follow your doctor’s advice closely.

Give up smoking:

Smoking raises the risk of heart failure by two times [ref]. This is enough for you to know the impact cigarettes can have on your heart.

So, join support groups or seek medical help to give up smoking once and for all. Your future self will thank you for this decision.

Stress management:

yoga burn 500 calories workout
Yoga is best for stress management

If your stress levels are too high, then maintaining heart health can be a tough issue. Try yoga, breathing exercises, and massages to relax your body and brain.

A sound body can support itself in critical conditions so strike a balance between your personal life and professional one.

Research has also shown that stress management interventions can help anxiety, depressive episodes, and quality of life [ref].

Hydration is key:

Maintaining adequate hydration levels may be linked to a lower chance of heart failure.

The researchers suggested a daily fluid intake of 6-8 cups (1.5-2.1 liters) for women and 8-12 cups (2-3 liters) for men, although specific guidelines for fluid intake depend on an individual’s needs [ref]

You have a lower risk of developing new cardiac issues if your body keeps the proper fluid balance for your health.


What do you think?

Written by Dr. Ahmed

I am Dr. Ahmed (MBBS; FCPS Medicine), an Internist and a practicing physician. I am in the medical field for over fifteen years working in one of the busiest hospitals and writing medical posts for over 5 years.

I love my family, my profession, my blog, nature, hiking, and simple life. Read more about me, my family, and my qualifications

Here is a link to My Facebook Page. You can also contact me by email at or at My Twitter Account
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