Background: Outcomes related to heart failure remain relatively poor.
Aim: To examine the clinical course of patients for one year after their first admission because of heart failure, including prognosis, mortality, and rehospitalization.
Design: Prospective observational study.
Methods: Of 121 patients hospitalized over 6 months for decompensation of previously unknown heart failure, we excluded those with a possible previous diagnosis of heart failure (n = 5), who suffered from another serious disease with a poor prognosis (n = 6), died during the index hospitalization (n = 5), refused to participate (n = 4) or were lost to follow-up (n = 6). Mortality and readmissions were identified by prospective follow-up of all patients.
Results: Of the 98 patients evaluated, half (49) were women. Mean +/- SD age was 75.2 +/- 12 years. The 1-year case-fatality rate after the first admission was 24%; 19% of the deaths were heart failure-related, with progressive pump failure the predominant cause (14% of the total). Age was the only factor associated with increased mortality (p < 0.007). Of the 74 survivors, 32% experienced at least one hospital readmission during follow-up.
Discussion: The prognosis of unselected new cases of heart failure after their first hospitalization remains relatively poor, despite recent advances in pharmacological therapy and medical care.