The comorbidity conundrum: a focus on the role of noncardiovascular chronic conditions in the heart failure patient

Curr Cardiol Rep. 2012 Jun;14(3):276-84. doi: 10.1007/s11886-012-0259-9.


The rapid aging of the US population combined with improvements in modern medicine has created a new public health concern of comorbidity, a chronic condition that co-exists with a primary illness. Over 141 million Americans suffer from one or more comorbid conditions. In the heart failure (HF) patient, this comorbidity burden is particularly high, with over 40% of patients having five or more chronic conditions. These comorbidities can vary from being a risk factor to a cause of HF progression or even a precipitating factor for decompensation. Comorbidities, particularly the noncardiovascular conditions, have been associated with greater health resource utilization, poor health outcomes, and increased mortality. To minimize the negative impact that these comorbidities have on patient outcomes, appropriate attention should be paid to identifying, prioritizing, and managing each condition; minimizing medication complexity and polypharmacy; and improving overall coordination of care between providers and patients.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Chronic Disease / epidemiology*
  • Comorbidity
  • Depressive Disorder / epidemiology
  • Health Resources / statistics & numerical data
  • Heart Failure / diagnosis
  • Heart Failure / epidemiology*
  • Heart Failure / therapy
  • Humans
  • Prevalence
  • Prognosis
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / epidemiology