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Implementation of an emergency department atrial fibrillation and flutter pathway improves rates of appropriate anticoagulation, reduces length of stay and thirty-day revisit rates for congestive heart failure

  • David Barbic (a1) (a2), Chris DeWitt (a1), Devin Harris (a3), Robert Stenstrom (a1), Eric Grafstein (a1), Crane Wu (a4), Cristian Vadeanu (a4), Brett Heilbron (a5), Jenelle Haaf (a2), Stanley Tung (a5), Dan Kalla (a1), Julian Marsden (a1), Jim Christenson (a1) and Frank Scheuermeyer (a1)...

Abstract

Objectives

An evidence-based emergency department (ED) atrial fibrillation and flutter (AFF) pathway was developed to improve care. The primary objective was to measure rates of new anticoagulation (AC) on ED discharge for AFF patients who were not AC correctly upon presentation.

Methods

This is a pre-post evaluation from April to December 2013 measuring the impact of our pathway on rates of new AC and other performance measures in patients with uncomplicated AFF solely managed by emergency physicians. A standardized chart review identified demographics, comorbidities, and ED treatments. The primary outcome was the rate of new AC. Secondary outcomes were ED length of stay (LOS), referrals to AFF clinic, ED revisit rates, and 30-day rates of return visits for congestive heart failure (CHF), stroke, major bleeding, and death.

Results

ED AFF patients totalling 301 (129 pre-pathway [PRE]; 172 post-pathway [POST]) were included; baseline demographics were similar between groups. The rates of AC at ED presentation were 18.6% (PRE) and 19.7% (POST). The rates of new AC on ED discharge were 48.6 % PRE (95% confidence interval [CI] 42.1%-55.1%) and 70.2% POST (62.1%-78.3%) (20.6% [p<0.01; 15.1-26.3]). Median ED LOS decreased from 262 to 218 minutes (44 minutes [p<0.03; 36.2-51.8]). Thirty-day rates of ED revisits for CHF decreased from 13.2% to 2.3% (10.9%; p<0.01; 8.1%-13.7%), and rates of other measures were similar.

Conclusions

The evidence-based pathway led to an improvement in the rate of patients with new AC upon discharge, a reduction in ED LOS, and decreased revisit rates for CHF.

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Copyright

Corresponding author

Correspondence to: Dr. David Barbic, Department of Emergency Medicine, University of British Columbia, St. Paul’s Hospital, 1081 Burrard St., Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6; Email: david.barbic@ubc.ca

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