Background: Congestive heart failure (CHF) is associated with high morbidity and mortality; however, there is little contemporary Canadian data to quantify the burden of this illness.
Objective: To report the impact of CHF in Canada, as measured by hospitalizations.
Methods: Data were obtained from the Canadian Institute for Health Information on patients hospitalized with CHF as a most responsible, primary or complication diagnosis during fiscal year 2000/01.
Results: There were a total of 106,130 discharges for 85,679 CHF patients in the fiscal year 2000/01. Total in-hospital mortality was 15.8%. In terms of total discharges for CHF, 32.7% were readmissions. On an individual patient basis, 19.9% of patients were rehospitalized once or more during 2000. In terms of burden of illness of CHF compared with other major illnesses, CHF is associated with the second highest total number of hospital days and third highest number of patients affected.
Conclusions: Hospitalization for CHF occurs frequently and accounts for a large number of hospital bed-days in Canada. These figures should signal a call to action for researchers, administrators and health care providers regarding the need for more efficacious therapies, better application of already-proven therapies and patient education.