Introduction and objectives: To assess baseline characteristics, management patterns, and clinical outcomes after 18 months in patients diagnosed as heart failure in a tertiary hospital in Catalonia, Spain.
Methods: The records of all 265 patients admitted to the Hospital General Vall d'Hebron from July through December 1998 with a diagnosis of heart failure who met study criteria were identified and analyzed. Patients were interviewed by telephone 18 months later.
Results: The mean age of the study population was 75 12 years, 42% were male, 19% were admitted for causes other than heart failure, and 62% had significant comorbidity. Ventricular function was assessed in 68% (preferentially patients with a better prognosis), and was considered normal in 41%. Angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors or angiotensin II antagonists were used in 54%, and beta-blockers in 4%. The 18-month mortality was 46% (77% cardiac mortality). Multivariate predictors of death were older age, severe or previous heart failure, and serious comorbidity. At 18 months, 69% of survivors were in functional classes I or II.
Conclusions: 1) As in other geographic areas, patients in this study were an older population with poor survival; 2) local patterns of care definitely need improvement; 3) comorbidity is important for prognosis, and 4) a significant proportion of survivors enjoy an acceptable quality of life long after discharge.