Aims: To determine the prevalence, incidence rate, lifetime risk and prognosis of heart failure.
Methods and results: The Rotterdam Study is a prospective population-based cohort study in 7983 participants aged > or =55. Heart failure was defined according to criteria of the European Society of Cardiology. Prevalence was higher in men and increased with age from 0.9% in subjects aged 55-64 to 17.4% in those aged > or =85. Incidence rate of heart failure was 14.4/1000 person-years (95% CI 13.4-15.5) and was higher in men (17.6/1000 man-years, 95% CI 15.8-19.5) than in women (12.5/1000 woman-years, 95% CI 11.3-13.8). Incidence rate increased with age from 1.4/1000 person-years in those aged 55-59 to 47.4/1000 person-years in those aged > or =90. Lifetime risk was 33% for men and 29% for women at the age of 55. Survival after incident heart failure was 86% at 30 days, 63% at 1 year, 51% at 2 years and 35% at 5 years of follow-up.
Conclusion: Prevalence and incidence rates of heart failure are high. In individuals aged 55, almost 1 in 3 will develop heart failure during their remaining lifespan. Heart failure continues to be a fatal disease, with only 35% surviving 5 years after the first diagnosis.