Background: The postdischarge rehospitalization and death rates are high in patients with acute heart failure (HF) syndromes despite optimization of standard therapy for chronic HF. To the best of our knowledge, there has been no systematic analysis of the causes of death and rehospitalization in this patient population.
Methods: This was a prespecified analysis of adjudicated cause-specific all-cause mortality and cardiovascular (CV) hospitalization in the Efficacy of Vasopressin Antagonism in Heart Failure Outcome Study with Tolvaptan (EVEREST) trial, a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study in patients hospitalized with worsening HF and left ventricular ejection fraction < or =40% comparing tolvaptan, an oral vasopressin receptor antagonist to placebo, in addition to standard care.
Results: Of the 4,133 randomized, there were 5,239 rehospitalizations and 1,080 deaths during a median of 9.9 months. Of all deaths, 41.0% were due to HF, 26.0% due to sudden cardiac death (SCD), 2.6% due to acute myocardial infarction (MI), 2.2% due to stroke, and 13.2% due to non-CV causes. Of all hospitalizations, 39.2% were non-CV, whereas 46.3% were for HF, and a minority of hospitalizations was due to stroke, MI, arrhythmia, or other CV causes.
Conclusions: Despite close follow-up and evidence-based therapy within a clinical trial, rehospitalization and death remain high. Although most deaths were from HF, one quarter of patients had SCD. In addition, there were almost as many non-CV hospitalizations as HF hospitalizations. Knowledge of the causes of death and rehospitalization may be essential for proper management and early initiation of therapy.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00071331.
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