Ottawa Heart Failure Risk Scale could save lives and reduce adverse events

March 16, 2017

More than one million people come to Canadian and U.S. emergency departments each year with acute heart failure. Many of these people will experience a serious adverse event, such as death, within a few months.

Dr. Ian Stiell and his colleagues developed the Ottawa Heart Failure Risk Scale to help emergency physicians determine which patients should be admitted to hospital and which can be safely discharged. The tool assigns each patient a score based on things like blood tests, heart rate and disease history.

A new study of 1,100 patients across Canada found that using the tool would decrease the rate of serious adverse events such as death from 16 percent to 11 percent. It would also allow 22 percent of patients to be treated safely at home or in the community.

See Academic Emergency Medicine and SGEM blog. The paper reached #10 on the journal’s all-time list for media and social media attention.

Authors: Ian G. Stiell, Jeffrey J. Perry, Catherine M. Clement, Robert J. Brison, Brian H. Rowe, Shawn D. Aaron, Andrew D. McRae, Bjug Borgundvaag, Lisa A. Calder, Alan J. Forster, George A. Wells.

Funders: Canadian Institutes of Health Research, University of Ottawa, The Ottawa Hospital Foundation, Canada Research Chairs Program

The Ottawa Hospital: Inspired by research. Driven by compassion
The Ottawa Hospital is one of Canada’s largest learning and research hospitals with over 1,100 beds, approximately 12,000 staff and an annual budget of over $1.2 billion. Our focus on research and learning helps us develop new and innovative ways to treat patients and improve care. As a multi-campus hospital, affiliated with the University of Ottawa, we deliver specialized care to the Eastern Ontario region, but our techniques and research discoveries are adopted around the world. We engage the community at all levels to support our vision for better patient care. See for more information about research at The Ottawa Hospital.

University of Ottawa: —A crossroads of cultures and ideas
The University of Ottawa is home to over 50,000 students, faculty and staff, who live, work and study in both French and English. Our campus is a crossroads of cultures and ideas, where bold minds come together to inspire game-changing ideas. We are one of Canada’s top 10 research universities—our professors and researchers explore new approaches to today’s challenges. One of a handful of Canadian universities ranked among the top 200 in the world, we attract exceptional thinkers and welcome diverse perspectives from across the globe.

Media contact
Jennifer Ganton
Director, Communications and Public Relations
Ottawa Hospital Research Institute
Office: 613-798-5555 x 73325
Cell: 613-614-5253