Background: Survival data from hospital-based or clinical trial studies of patients with chronic heart failure (CHF) do not represent survival in community-based settings.
Aims: To determine the incidence of CHF and the associated long-term survival in a community-based sample aged > or = 57 years and to assess the mortality risk associated with sex and age.
Methods: This study was part of the Groningen Longitudinal Aging Study.
Results: Annual incidence of CHF per 1000 ranged from 2.5 in middle aged adults (57-60 years) up to 22.4 in older females (> or = 80 years) and 28.2 in older males (> or = 80 years). The 1, 2, 5 and 7-year survival rates were 74%, 65%, 45%, 32% for patients with CHF, compared to 97%, 94%, 80% and 70% in a matched reference group without CHF. Higher age (> or = 76 years) was a risk factor for mortality (OR = 2.1) and male sex was a risk factor in those aged < or = 75 years (OR = 1.9) but not for older patients.
Conclusion: Long-term survival rates for patients with CHF in the community were worse than the known survival rates from clinical trials. There is a need for studies describing the care of patients with CHF in the community, including the type of care, the provider, the quality of care and the outcome.