CHF Workgroup Discusses Value of Outpatient Intravenous Diuresis

The Michigan Value Collaborative (MVC) holds bi-monthly virtual workgroups on six different clinical areas of focus. The goal of these workgroups is to bring collaborative members together to discuss current quality improvement initiatives and challenges. These six different clinical areas include chronic disease management (CDM), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), congestive heart failure (CHF), diabetes, joint, and sepsis. At the most recent MVC CHF workgroup, the discussion centered around inpatient versus outpatient intravenous diuresis for the acute exacerbation of CHF.

The prevalence of heart failure in the United States is increasing, with one study indicating it affects more than 5.7 million people. The study reports that up to 80% of patients with acute decompensated heart failure (ADHF) visit their emergency departments and that 91.5% of those patients were thereafter readmitted to the hospital for diuresis.

With increasing prevalence comes greater direct and indirect healthcare costs associated with CHF, accounting for approximately $40 billion annually in the United States. For patients over the age of 65, it is a leading cause of hospitalization with annual costs of $11 billion.

Despite significant costs and healthcare burden associated with this condition, the same study finds that no official guidance exists regarding an appropriate location for therapy. Since hospital readmission reduction programs seek to incentivize reductions in readmissions, it is important to simultaneously provide guidance to providers and patients on safe and effective options for outpatient treatment and therapy.

To address this concern, the workgroup discussed the benefits and safety of outpatient intravenous (IV) diuresis and how the outpatient administration of furosemide can be safe and effective. MVC members shared their experiences with setting up these clinics, their inclusion criteria, and other protocols. A standard diuretic protocol could include each patient being given an IV furosemide bolus with continuous infusion within the most appropriate outpatient setting, which could include the patient’s home or in a mobile clinic.

While in the outpatient setting, patients undergoing this treatment would be monitored via cardiac telemetry and appropriate blood panels before and after the infusion. Patients on maintenance medications are instructed to continue their standard dose in the outpatient setting as appropriate based on their individualized treatment protocol. Patients should follow up with their cardiology and primary care teams to maintain their treatment and care maintenance plans. Following the outpatient IV diuresis encounter, the study reported patients had lower costs, fewer hospital stays, and lower mortality risk than CHF patients who did not receive outpatient IV diuresis.

Overall, studies indicate that outpatient CHF IV diuresis treatment is a safe and effective method of relieving CHF symptoms with a low risk of adverse events. The MVC members in attendance had positive thoughts and experiences regarding outpatient IV diuresis clinics and would recommend further discussion on them. The outpatient mobile CHF diuresis clinic was of notable interest to the MVC members in attendance and will be considered for a specialty topic in future workgroups and blog posts.

The MVC Coordinating Center is interested in hearing how your organization is improving CHF patient care and reducing CHF hospital readmissions. If you would like to present at or attend an upcoming MVC workgroup, please contact the MVC Coordinating Center at the michiganvaluecollaborative@gmail.com.