To evaluate the effect of a postpartum hypertension standardized clinical assessment and management plan on postpartum readmissions and emergency department (ED) visits.
We conducted a prospective cohort study of patients with postpartum hypertension (either chronic hypertension or hypertensive disorders of pregnancy) who delivered at a single tertiary care center for 6 months after enacting an institution-wide standardized clinical assessment and management plan (postintervention group). Patients in the postintervention group were compared with patients in a historical control group. The standardized clinical assessment and management plan included 1) initiation or uptitration of medication for any blood pressure (BP) higher than 150/100 mm Hg or any two BPs higher than 140/90 mm Hg within a 24-hour period, with the goal of achieving normotension (BP lower than 140/90 mm Hg) in the 12 hours before discharge; and 2) enrollment in a remote BP monitoring system on discharge. The primary outcome was postpartum readmission or ED visit for hypertension. Multivariable logistic regression was used to evaluate the association between standardized clinical assessment and management plan and the selected outcomes. A sensitivity analysis was performed with propensity score weighting. A planned subanalysis in the postintervention cohort identified risk factors associated with requiring antihypertensive uptitration after discharge. For all analyses, the level of statistical significance was set at P<.05.
Overall, 390 patients in the postintervention cohort were compared with 390 patients in a historical control group. Baseline demographics were similar between groups with the exception of lower prevalence of chronic hypertension in the postintervention cohort (23.1% vs 32.1%, P=.005). The primary outcome occurred in 2.8% of patients in the postintervention group and in 11.0% of patients in the historical control group (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] 0.24, 95% CI 0.12–0.49, P<.001). A matched propensity score analysis controlling for chronic hypertension similarly demonstrated a significant reduction in the incidence of the primary outcome. Of the 255 patients (65.4%) who were compliant with outpatient remote BP monitoring, 53 (20.8%) had medication adjustments made per protocol at a median of 6 days (interquartile range 5–8 days) from delivery. Non-Hispanic Black race (aOR 3.42, 95% CI 1.68–6.97), chronic hypertension (aOR 2.09, 95% CI 1.13–3.89), having private insurance (aOR 3.04, 95% CI 1.06–8.72), and discharge on antihypertensive medications (aOR 2.39, 95% CI 1.33–4.30) were associated with requiring outpatient adjustments.
A standardized clinical assessment and management plan significantly reduced postpartum readmissions and ED visits for patients with hypertension. Close outpatient follow-up to ensure appropriate medication titration after discharge may be especially important in groups at high risk for readmission.