Objectives: Congestive heart failure (CHF) is the major cause of death and hospitalization in the elderly population. Simple markers that can be measured anywhere at low cost are necessary to identify patients at high risk. Recent studies have reported that hyperuricemia is a prognostic marker for CHF. However, it is not yet known whether serum levels of uric acid may provide prognostic information in the elderly population. Therefore, this study tried to identify the clinical characteristics of elderly CHF patients (+/-70 years) in our institution and to evaluate whether uric acid levels can effectively estimate the prognosis for elderly CHF patients.
Methods and results: Uric acid levels were analyzed in 247 CHF patients, and patients were followed up for 451 +/- 235 days (mean +/- SD). Elderly CHF patients aged > or =70 years (123 patients) had higher rate of hypertension, lower current smoking rate and higher uric acid levels than those aged < 70 years (124 patients). There were 72 cardiac events including cardiac deaths and readmissions for worsening CHF. Multivariate analysis with the Cox proportional hazard model showed that uric acid was the only independent predictor of cardiac events (hazard ratio 1.544, 95% confidence interval 1.215-2.582, p < 0.0001) in the elderly with CHF. The highest quartile of uric acid level was associated with the highest risk of cardiac events (a 4.45-fold compared to the lowest quartile). Kaplan-Meier analysis revealed that uric acid levels effectively risk stratified elderly CHF patients for cardiac events.
Conclusions: These findings suggest that measurement of uric acid levels in elderly CHF patients may add valuable prognostic information to predict cardiac events.