In This Edition
Literature At A Glance
A guide to this month’s studies
- Interventions that improve discharge handovers reviewed
- Duration of in-hospital cardiac resuscitation and survival rates
- Early sepsis intervention strategies to decrease mortality risk
- Hypoglycemia linked to increased mortality in critically ill
- Increased bleeding risk for cardiac patients
- Hospital-run vs. anesthesiologist-run preoperative clinics
- Postoperative delirium and cognitive impairment in cardiac patients
- Benefits of resuming anticoagulants after GI bleeding
- Preoperative hyponatremia and risk of perioperative mortality
Systematic Review Highlights Several Interventions That Improve Discharge Handovers
Clinical question: Do interventions to improve patient handovers at discharge have positive effects on patient care?
Background: The transition from hospital to primary care is often suboptimal and has been associated with unfavorable outcomes, including hospital readmission, increased healthcare utilization, and adverse drug events post-discharge. This review sought to characterize different types of interventions aimed at improving discharge handovers and to evaluate their effects.
Study design: Systematic review of randomized controlled trials.
Setting: Studies published from January 1990 to March 2011.
Synopsis: Review of published databases identified 36 randomized controlled studies on interventions to improve discharge handovers. Studies were blindly evaluated by two reviewers on quality, interventions, and outcomes. There was significant heterogeneity in interventions and outcomes; thus, statistical analysis was not possible. Most studies evaluated multicomponent interventions and had more than one outcome measure.
Of the 36 studies reviewed, 25 reported statistically significant improvements in outcomes, including reduced hospital utilization and improved continuity of care. Effective interventions included medication reconciliation; structured discharge information (facilitated by electronic resources); multidisciplinary discharge planning; shared involvement in arranging care between inpatient and outpatient physicians; and Web-based access to discharge information by the outpatient provider.
The complexity of the interventions and the heterogeneity of reported results did not allow for firm conclusions to be drawn regarding which specific interventions had the strongest effects.
Bottom line: Interventions that target the quality and safety of handovers between hospital and outpatient providers at discharge can significantly reduce hospital utilization and improve continuity of care.
Citation: Hesselink G, Schoonhoven L, Barach P, et al. Improving patient handovers from hospital to primary care: a systematic review. Ann Intern Med. 2012;157:417-428.
Longer Duration of In-Hospital Cardiac Resuscitation Associated with Increased Survival
Clinical question: Are prolonged cardiac resuscitation efforts associated with improved outcomes?
Background: There is little evidence or guidelines on how long to maintain resuscitative efforts during in-hospital cardiac arrest, leading to variation in practice. This study characterized patterns of resuscitation duration and relationship to the return of spontaneous circulation and survival to discharge.
Study design: Retrospective observational study.
Setting: Four hundred thirty-five U.S. hospitals reporting data to the American Heart Association’s Get With The Guidelines: Resuscitation registry.
Synopsis: Using duration of resuscitation in nonsurvivors as a surrogate for the tendency of a facility to perform prolonged efforts, hospitals were divided into quartiles. Overall, of 64,339 patients in the registry, 31,198 (48.5%) had return of circulation and 9,912 (15.4%) survived to discharge. Resuscitative efforts in nonsurvivors ranged from a median of 16 to 25 minutes between the lowest and highest quartiles.
There was a stepwise increase in the likelihood for patients to have return of spontaneous circulation and to survive to discharge between each quartile. Specifically, comparing shortest to longest, there was a significant adjusted odds ratio of 1.12 for both the return of circulation (P<0.0001) and survival to discharge (P=0.021). The survival benefit was most apparent for those with pulseless electrical activity or asystole as initial rhythms, as compared to ventricular tachycardia or fibrillation.
Limitations included the study’s observational design, which meant causality could not be determined. Additionally, the study did not account for the quality of resuscitative efforts (e.g. depth of chest compressions, adherence with guidelines), which might have influenced outcomes. Importantly, the study looked at survival to discharge, but it did not evaluate long-term survival or functional status post-discharge, which might better reflect the success of resuscitation.