Background: Heart failure (HF) is a major public health problem that is associated with substantial morbidity, impaired quality of life, and diminished survival. Despite the considerable prevalence of HF in the United States, there are limited published data describing the contemporary long-term prognosis of patients hospitalized with decompensated HF.
Methods: A total of 2445 residents in the Worcester metropolitan area discharged from 11 greater Worcester hospitals after confirmed acute HF during 2000 comprised the study sample. Follow-up of discharged hospital survivors was carried out through 2005.
Results: The mean age of the study population was 76 years, 43.4% were men, and approximately three quarters had been previously diagnosed as having HF. Among discharged hospital patients, 37.3% died during the first year after hospital discharge, while 78.5% died during the 5-year follow-up period. Several subgroups of patients were at significantly increased risk for dying during the first year after hospital discharge. This included older persons (> or =85 years) (adjusted odds ratio [OR], 2.11; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.35-3.29), patients with a history of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (OR, 1.39; 95% CI, 1.15-1.69) or HF (OR, 1.26; 95% CI, 1.00-1.59), and patients with elevated serum urea nitrogen levels during hospitalization (OR, 1.02; 95% CI, 1.01-1.03).
Conclusions: The results of our community-wide study demonstrate the poor long-term prognosis of patients surviving hospitalization for decompensated HF. Despite advances in the therapeutic management of these patients, their long-term survival remains guarded. Efforts are needed to improve the long-term survival of patients with this clinical syndrome.