Background: Renal dysfunction and worsening renal function (WRF) during heart failure (HF) therapy predict outcomes. We determined whether the severity of renal dysfunction, the incidence of WRF or outcomes have changed over time (secular trends) in patients hospitalized for HF therapy.
Methods and results: A total of 6440 consecutive unique patients admitted for HF to Mayo Clinic Hospitals Rochester, MN, January 1, 1987, to December 31, 2002, were identified and data extracted from electronic databases. Over the study period, age and admission creatinine increased, whereas estimated glomerular filtration rate and hemoglobin decreased (P < .0001 for all). The prevalence of hypertension and diabetes among HF patients also increased over time (P < .0001). The incidence of WRF was stable. Renal dysfunction and development of WRF were associated with mortality. When adjusted for the changes in baseline characteristics of HF patients, mortality declined over the study period.
Conclusion: Hospitalized HF patients are increasingly elderly, have a greater prevalence of diseases that lead to renal dysfunction, and have more severe renal dysfunction and anemia on admission. However, adjusting for these secular trends in patient characteristics, mortality after HF admission is improving. These data enhance our understanding of the changing natural history of HF.