Objectives. Acute heart failure is major cause of hospitalisation in West-ern countries. As patients with acute heart failure cannot be admitted directly to the wards, they stay in emergency rooms, causing access block. Brief Intensive Observation areas are holding units dedicated to the stabilisation of patients requiring close monitoring. However, these units have been associated with acute exacerbation of heart failure. This study aimed to evaluate the impact of Brief Intensive Observation areas on the management of acute heart failure in elderly patients. Methods. This retrospective, single-centred observational study ana-lysed patients who presented in the emergency room with acute heart failure in 2017 and divided them into two cohorts: those treated in the Brief Intensive Observation and those who were not. The reduction of colour codes at discharge, mortality rate within the emergency rooms, hospitalisation rate, rate of transfer to less intensive facilities and read-mission rate at 7, 14 and 30 days after discharge were compared. Results. Of the 694 patients, 62% were transferred to the Brief Intensive Observation for stabilisation. Age and sex between the cohorts were not significantly different. However, compared to non-Brief Intensive Observation patients, the Brief Intensive Observation patients had worse clinical conditions on arrival and longer stabilisation period. The stabilisation rate was higher in Brief Intensive Observation patients than in non-Brief Intensive Observation patients. Conclusions. Brief Intensive Observation areas allows effective stabilisation of elderly patients, better management of beds, reduced admission rates and reduced use of high intensity care unit beds.
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