The usual history of chronic heart failure (HF) is characterized by frequent episodes of acute decompensation (ADHF), needing urgent management in the emergency department (ED). Since the diagnostic accuracy of routine laboratory tests remains quite limited for predicting short-term mortality in ADHF, this retrospective study investigated the potential significance of combining red blood cell distribution width (RDW) with other conventional tests for prognosticating ADHF upon ED admission. We conducted a retrospective study including visits for episodes of ADHF recorded in the ED of the Uni versity Hospital of Verona throughout a 4-year period. Demo - graphic and clinical features were recorded upon patient presentation. All patients were subjected to standard Chest X-ray, electrocardiogram (ECG) and laboratory testing in - cluding creatinine, blood urea nitrogen, B-type natriuretic peptide (BNP), complete blood cell count (CBC), sodium, chloride, potassium and RDW. The 30-day overall mortality after ED presentation was defined as primary endpoint. Results: The values of sodium, creatinine, BNP and RDW were higher in patients who died than in those who survived, whilst hypochloremia was more frequent in patients who died than in those who survived. The multivariate model, incorporating these parameters, displayed a modest efficiency for predicting 30-day mortality after ED admission (AUC, 0.701; 95% CI, 0.662-0.738; p=0.001). Notably, the inclusion of RDW in the model significantly enhanced prediction efficiency, with an AUC of 0.723 (95% CI, 0.693-0.763; p<0.001). These results were confirmed with net reclassification improvement (NRI) analysis, showing that combination of RDW with conventional laboratory tests resulted in a much better prediction performance (net reclassification index, 0.222; p=0.001). The results of our study show that prognostic assessment of ADHF patients in the ED can be significantly improved by combining RDW with other conventional laboratory tests.
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