Aims: To determine the prevalence and risk factors for worsening renal function (WRF) among patients hospitalized for decompensated heart failure (HF) and the association with subsequent re-hospitalization and mortality.
Methods and results: We prospectively enrolled 299 patients across eight European countries (mean age 68, 74% men). HF was defined using the European Society of Cardiology criteria, but only patients with a history of ejection fraction < or =40% on echocardiography were recruited. WRF was defined as an increase in serum creatinine >26 micromol/L ( approximately 0.3 mg/dL) from admission. Follow-up was 95% complete to 6 months. Nearly one-third of patients [72 of 248 patients, 29% (95% CI 26-32%)] developed WRF during hospitalization, excluding patients who had a major in-hospital complication likely to compromise renal function. The risk of WRF in this group was independently associated with serum creatinine levels on admission [odds ratio (OR) 3.02 (95% CI 1.58-5.76)], pulmonary oedema [OR 3.35 (1.79-6.27)], and a history of atrial fibrillation [OR 0.35 (0.18-0.67)]. Although the mortality of WRF patients was not increased significantly, the length of stay was 2 days longer [median 11 days (90% range (4-41) vs. 9 days (4-34), P=0.006]. The re-hospitalization rate was similar in both groups.
Conclusion: WRF is common in patients admitted to European hospitals with decompensated HF. Such patients have longer duration admissions, but a similar mortality and re-hospitalization rate to those without WRF (if patients experiencing a major in-hospital complication are excluded).