WALTHAM, Mass., March 25, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- BG Medicine, Inc. (Nasdaq:BGMD) announced today the publication of results, in the American Heart Journal, of an analysis of aggregated data from three large, multicenter clinical research trials in the United States and Europe. The trials included a total of 902 heart failure patients and demonstrated that elevations of galectin-3 levels in blood, as measured using the BGM Galectin-3® Test, were significantly predictive of rehospitalization for heart failure as early as within the first 30 days following discharge from an initial hospital stay. 
The authors reported that heart failure patients with elevations in their galectin-3 levels at the time of their hospitalization were re-admitted within 30 days at nearly three times the rate of patients without galectin-3 elevation (risk ratio of 2.80 at 30 days, P-value of 0.003). The increased risk conferred by elevations in galectin-3 was seen to persist at 60, 90 and 120 days in the study. Galectin-3 testing correctly identified markedly higher risk among between one-fifth to one-third of all patients who, based on conventional risk assessment, were placed into a low risk category at the time of their initial hospital discharge but who, nonetheless, went on to be rehospitalized or suffer a fatal event (net reclassification improvement statistic value of +42.6% at 30 days, P-value < 0.001).
In the United States, the annual cost to Medicare of hospital readmissions within 30 days of discharge has been estimated to exceed $17 billion.  The leading cause of hospital readmissions among Medicare beneficiaries is heart failure related complications.  The recently enacted Affordable Care Act required the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid to implement penalty-based reductions in payments to hospitals with excessive rates of readmissions within 30 days of hospital discharge. The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission has concluded that approximately three-quarters of these hospital readmissions are potentially preventable.