Background: Acute myocardial infarction (AMI) is a common cause of heart failure (HF), which can develop soon after AMI and may persist or resolve or develop late. HF after an MI is a major source of mortality. The cumulative incidence, prevalence and resolution of HF after MI in different age groups are poorly described. This study describes the natural history of HF after AMI according to age.
Methods: Patients with AMI during 1998 were identified from hospital records. HF was defined as treatment of symptoms and signs of HF with loop diuretics and was considered to have resolved if loop diuretic therapy could be stopped without recurrence of symptoms. Patients were categorised into those aged < 65 years, 65-75 years, and > 75 years.
Results: Of 896 patients, 311, 297 and 288 were aged < 65, 65-75 and >75 years and of whom 24%, 57% and 82% had died respectively by December 2005. Of these deaths, 24 (8%), 68 (23%) and 107 (37%) occurred during the index admission, many associated with acute HF. A further 37 (12%), 63 (21%) and 82 (29%) developed HF that persisted until discharge, of whom 15, 44 and 62 subsequently died. After discharge, 53 (24%), 55 (40%) and 37 (47%) patients developed HF for the first time, of whom 26%, 62% and 76% subsequently died. Death was preceded by the development of HF in 35 (70%), 93 (91%) and 107 (85%) in aged < 65 years, 65-75 years and >75 years, respectively.
Conclusions: The risk of developing HF and of dying after an MI increases progressively with age. Regardless of age, most deaths after a MI are preceded by the development of HF.
Keywords: Age; Heart failure; Myocardial infarction.