Saeed A. Jortani, PhD, clinical associate professor of pathology and laboratory medicine, will lead a team of investigators including cardiologists, emergency medicine physicians, nurses and clinical coordinators in the “Congestive Heart Failure Readmission (CHFR) Trial.” It is now open for enrollment.

New guidelines established by the Affordable Care Act put limits on readmitting patients within a 30-day time period for the same diagnosis.

“Finding the right ‘formula’ for discharge and reducing readmission rates will help us improve the ultimate health outcome for the patient as well as realize significant cost savings in the long run,” Jortani said.

The team’s goal is to enroll 600 patients with symptoms of congestive heart failure who are admitted to the emergency departments at two KentuckyOne Health hospitals, University of Louisville Hospital and Jewish Hospital. Blood samples will be collected from patients at the time they are admitted and again when they are discharged. These samples will be analyzed for a variety of cardiac and kidney biomarkers.

The patients then will be surveyed twice, at 30 days and six months after discharge, to learn if their condition required readmission to the hospital.

The team will use the data obtained from the blood samples to develop an evidence-based approach that could be used in determining the optimal timing for discharging patients with heart failure and ultimately prevent readmission.

“We believe that using an objective, clinically verified approach to discharging heart failure patients initially could reduce the need for future readmission,” Jortani said. “Our thinking is that patients’ biomarkers will indicate when they are ready for discharge from the hospital with hopefully less chance of being readmitted later on.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, heart failure affects about five million people in the United States, with 550,000 new patients diagnosed each year. Patients with heart failure also have a high incidence of other life-threatening diseases and conditions, such as renal failure, hypertension, diabetes and others.

Each year, more than one million people are admitted to an inpatient facility for heart failure, and 27 percent of patients with heart failure who are on Medicare are readmitted within 30 days.

 For information about the trial, contact 502-852-8835 or sjortani@louisville.edu

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Jill Scoggins is proud of her role as an academic communications professional with more than 25 years’ experience with universities in four states. At UofL, she manages communications for several departments, divisions, institutes and centers within the School of Medicine. Her areas include women’s health, pediatrics, family medicine, geriatric medicine, cardiology and cardiovascular surgery and oncology/hematology, among others.