Approximately 20-30% of patients presenting with acute heart failure are discharged from the ED. Compared to patients discharged from the hospital, they more frequently return to the ED and hospital for further management. While inpatient discharges are often enrolled in transitions programs and have their care tailored to evidence-based recommendations, ED discharges do not. The investigators propose to evaluate current standard ED discharge to an ED-based intervention which will transition patients to outpatient follow-up on guideline-recommended therapy.



Eligible Ages
Over 21 Years
Eligible Genders
Accepts Healthy Volunteers

Inclusion Criteria

  • Patients deemed by emergency physician to have AHF, who they plan to discharge or hold for brief ED-based observation (less than 23 hours of AHF care)
  • Age ≥21 years old
  • Prior history of HF

Exclusion Criteria

  • Unable to comply with protocol- due to psychiatric disease or distance from the hospital
  • Systolic BP <100 mmHg
  • Evidence of ACS based on ischemia on ECG or Troponin elevation
  • Outpatient inotrope infusion

Study Design

Study Type
Intervention Model
Parallel Assignment
Primary Purpose
Supportive Care
Single (Outcomes Assessor)

Arm Groups

ArmDescriptionAssigned Intervention
Active Comparator
Standard of Care
In keeping with the strategy-based pragmatic nature of the trial, the discharge procedures will largely be kept as they are in common practice. Investigators will standardize usual care for ED discharge to include HF medication reconciliation as well as encourage 7-day follow-up.
  • Behavioral: Standard of Care
    Those in the standard care arm will receive structured ED discharge assessment to include: discharge instructions; medication reconciliation encourage follow-up.
Active Comparator
GWTG:HF has been successfully implemented across multiple inpatient populations and health systems over the last decade and has been shown to improve HF disparities.
  • Behavioral: GUIDED-HF
    Participants in this arm will receive a tailored discharge plan via a transition nurse coordinator directed team (TNC Team). Disease education: Health literacy screen will identify barriers to understanding discharge and medication instructions. Lifestyle interventions: Includes receiving smoking cessation information and instructions to track daily weights. Guideline recommendations for medications and device referral: Includes determining the need for prescriptions for ACEIs, ARBs, beta blockers, aldosterone antagonists, anticoagulants and referral for pacemaker/defibrillator consideration. Outpatient follow-up appointment: TNC Team will provide a scheduled appointment within 7 days and will conduct a home visit within 48 hours of ED discharge.

Recruiting Locations

Vanderbilt University Medical Center
Nashville, Tennessee 37232
Sean Collins, MD

VA Tennessee Valley Health System
Nashville, Tennessee 37232
Sean Collins, MD

More Details

Vanderbilt University

Study Contact

Sean Collins, MD

Detailed Description

Heart failure (HF) is common and growing healthcare concern. Heart failure affects nearly 6 million Americans. It results in over one million annual hospital discharges as the primary discharge diagnosis and an additional two million hospitalizations where HF contributes to the discharge diagnosis. Despite a relative reduction in the hospitalization rate of HF, the actual number of HF hospitalizations remains over one million annually. This figure is expected to significantly worsen with the aging United States population and the growing HF prevalence. Over 80% of patients who are hospitalized are initially seen in the emergency department (ED). However, not all those seen in the ED for HF are admitted; a sizeable proportion are discharged home without hospitalization. As disposition decisions for those who present to the hospital rest largely with ED providers, the ED will play an even bigger role in the management of HF patients and in avoiding unnecessary hospitalizations.

The ED is the gatekeeper for AHF evaluations. Nearly one million ED visits for acute heart failure (AHF) occur annually in the United States. Importantly, the ED is the safety net for AHF care and often sole provider of AHF care to vulnerable patients. To optimize care and reduce ED and hospital revisits, there has been significant emphasis on improving transitions at the time of hospital discharge for HF patients. Such efforts have been almost exclusively directed at hospitalized patients; individuals with AHF who are discharged from the ED miss the benefits of transitional care initiatives.

Ensuring optimal transitions of care for discharged ED AHF patients is a critical unmet need. Data show AHF patients discharged from the ED receive suboptimal guideline directed medical therapy (GDMT), suggesting interventions to improve AHF transitions are needed in the ED setting. This is particularly true for patients that are in resource limited settings, many of whom have vulnerable characteristics. By default the ED is often the sole or primary provider of HF care to this group of patients who are discharged from the ED.

The proposal, "Get with the Guidelines in ED Patients with Heart Failure (GUIDED-HF)", is designed to answer two fundamental questions about vulnerable patients with AHF discharged from the ED:

1. Does GWTG:HF implementation by a transition nurse coordinator directed team (TNC Team) reduce disparities in time to ED/clinic revisit or hospital admission or cardiovascular death over the 3-month period immediately following the index ED visit?

2. Does GWTG:HF implementation by a TNC Team reduce disparities in patient satisfaction, HF knowledge and QOL over the 3-month period immediately following the index ED visit?

Patients hospitalized for HF continue to have a high risk of adverse post-discharge outcomes. Although there has been a relative reduction in rehospitalization and mortality rates for AHF patients post-discharge after a significant recent effort by hospitals to avoid CMS financial penalties, the absolute risk remains very high. The one-month post discharge readmission risk is 20-25% and one-year post discharge mortality is 25-30%. These results are from institutions who have implemented significant in-hospital case management programs with a specific focus on transitions of care, including early post-discharge follow-up. ED patients discharged with AHF have more vulnerable characteristics, have a higher risk of readmission, and are not included in hospital programs targeted to help them. This proposal will study a significant unmet need, projected to get worse, and for which no evidence based data currently exist to guide management. Even a modest reduction in the risk for ED revisits or hospital admissions has the potential for significant clinical and patient centric benefits in patients with AHF discharged from the ED.


Study information shown on this site is derived from ClinicalTrials.gov (a public registry operated by the National Institutes of Health). The listing of studies provided is not certain to be all studies for which you might be eligible. Furthermore, study eligibility requirements can be difficult to understand and may change over time, so it is wise to speak with your medical care provider and individual research study teams when making decisions related to participation.