Background: Early prognosis for incident (new) heart failure (HF) patients in the general population is poor. Clinical trials suggest approximately half of chronic HF patients die suddenly but mode of death for incident HF cases in the general population has not been evaluated.
Aims: To describe mode of death in the first six months after a new diagnosis in the general population.
Methods: Two-centre UK population-based study.
Results: 396 incident HF patients were prospectively identified. Overall mortality rates were 6% [3-8%], 11% [8-14%] and 14% [11-18%] at 1, 3 and 6months respectively. There were 59 deaths over a median follow-up of 10months; 86% (n = 51) were cardiovascular (CV) deaths. Overall, the mode of death was progressive HF in 52% (n = 31), sudden death (SD) in 22% (n = 13), other CV death in 12% (n = 7), and non-CV death in 14% (n = 8). On multivariable analysis, progressive HF deaths were associated with older age, lower serum sodium, systolic hypotension, prolonged QRS duration at baseline and absence of ACE inhibitor therapy at the time of discharge or death.
Conclusion: Early prognosis after a new diagnosis of HF in the general population is poor and progressive HF, rather than sudden death, accounts for the majority of deaths.