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Higher Hospital Readmission Rates for Cardiac Patients in Northern vs Southern Ontario

Patients hospitalized with heart attacks, heart failure, atrial fibrillation or stroke in Northern Ontario, Canada, were more likely to be readmitted to the hospital and repeatedly hospitalized after discharge than those living in Southern Ontario. Yet, no geographical differences were found in 30-day survival, writes Science Daily. A new study published in the Canadian Journal of Cardiology recommends providing access to timely transitional care by clinicians who have the knowledge and expertise to treat patients recently discharged from hospital as one of several strategies necessary to reduce hospital readmission rates. The study highlights some of the differences in outcomes and the need for new strategies to try to reduce readmission rates for cardiac disease patients in the North.

The study compared death and readmission risks of patients admitted with acute myocardial infarction (AMI), heart failure (HF), stroke or atrial fibrillation (AF) in Northern compared to Southern Ontario. Northern Ontario regions tend to be more rural, have fewer doctors, and less access to specialist care and important diagnostic tests. However, even when urban or rural region of residence was considered, patients with these four conditions were more likely to be rehospitalized in the North, despite accounting for several factors including bed availability and length of hospital stay.

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