Background: Evidence of health disparities between urban and rural populations usually favors urban dwellers. The impact of rurality on heart failure (HF) outcomes is unknown.
Objective: We compared event-free survival between HF patients living in urban and rural areas.
Methods: In this longitudinal study, 136 patients with HF (male, 70%; age, mean ± SD 61 ± 11 years; New York Heart Association class III/IV, 60%) were enrolled. Patients' emergency department visits for HF exacerbation and rehospitalization during follow-up were identified. Rural status was determined by rural-urban commuting area code. Survival analysis was used to determine the effect of rurality on outcomes while controlling for relevant demographic, clinical, and psychosocial variables.
Results: Rural patients (64%) had longer event-free survival than urban patients (P = .015). Rurality (P = .04) predicted event-free survival after controlling for age, marital status, New York Heart Association class, medications, adherence to medications, depressive symptoms, and social support.
Conclusions: Rural patients were less likely than their urban counterparts to experience an event. Further research is needed to identify protective factors that may be unique to rural settings.
Copyright © 2010. Published by Mosby, Inc.