Prevalence of chronic heart failure in Southwestern Europe: the EPICA study

Eur J Heart Fail. 2002 Aug;4(4):531-9. doi: 10.1016/s1388-9842(02)00034-x.


Aim: To estimate the prevalence of chronic heart failure (CHF) in mainland Portugal in 1998.

Methods and population: A community-based epidemiological survey involving subjects attending primary care centres selected by a combined two-stage sampling and stratified procedure. General practitioners (GPs) randomly selected in proportion to the population of the District, evaluated subjects attending primary care centres aged over 25 years, recruited consecutively and stratified by age. CHF cases were identified according to the Guidelines of the European Society of Cardiology for CHF diagnosis.

Results: 5434 eligible subjects were evaluated by 365 GPs; 551 patients with CHF were identified. The overall prevalence and 95% CI of CHF in mainland Portugal is 4.36% (3.69-5.02%), 4.33% in males (3.19-5.46%), and 4.38% in females (3.64-5.13%). Age-specific CHF prevalence was as follows: 1.36% in the 25-49 years-old group (0.39-2.33%), 2.93% in the 50-59 years-old group (5.58-9.37%), 7.63% in the 60-69 years-old group (5.58-9.37%), 12.67% in the 70-79 years-old group (10.73-14.6%), and 16.14% in group over 80 years old (13.81-18.47%). The prevalence of CHF due to systolic dysfunction was 1.3% and the prevalence of CHF with normal systolic function was 1.7%.

Conclusions: The overall prevalence of CHF in Portugal was slightly higher than that of other European studies and increases sharply with age. The prevalence of CHF due to systolic dysfunction is very similar to that reported by other recent European studies. The differences found may correspond to differences in methodology rather than actual differences in the population.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Chronic Disease
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Family Practice
  • Female
  • Heart Failure / epidemiology*
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Portugal / epidemiology
  • Sampling Studies