Kidney Function and Outcomes in Patients Hospitalized With Heart Failure

J Am Coll Cardiol. 2021 Jul 27;78(4):330-343. doi: 10.1016/j.jacc.2021.05.002. Epub 2021 May 11.


Background: Few contemporary data exist evaluating care patterns and outcomes in heart failure (HF) across the spectrum of kidney function.

Objectives: This study sought to characterize differences in quality of care and outcomes in patients hospitalized for HF by degree of kidney dysfunction.

Methods: Guideline-directed medical therapies were evaluated among patients hospitalized with HF at 418 sites in the GWTG-HF (Get With The Guidelines-Heart Failure) registry from 2014 to 2019 by discharge CKD-EPI (Chronic Kidney Disease Epidemiology Collaboration)-derived estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR). We additionally evaluated the risk-adjusted association of admission eGFR with in-hospital mortality.

Results: Among 365,494 hospitalizations (age 72 ± 15 years, left ventricular ejection fraction [EF]: 43 ± 17%), median discharge eGFR was 51 ml/min/1.73 m2 (interquartile range: 34 to 72 ml/min/1.73 m2), 234,332 (64%) had eGFR <60 ml/min/1.73 m2, and 18,869 (5%) were on dialysis. eGFR distribution remained stable from 2014 to 2019. Among 157,439 patients with HF with reduced EF (≤40%), discharge guideline-directed medical therapies, including beta-blockers, were lowest in discharge eGFR <30 mL/min/1.73 m2 or dialysis (p < 0.001). "Triple therapy" with angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor/angiotensin receptor blocker/angiotensin receptor-neprilysin inhibitor + beta-blocker + mineralocorticoid receptor antagonist was used in 38%, 33%, 25%, 15%, 5%, and 3% for eGFR ≥90, 60 to 89, 45 to 59, 30 to 44, <30 ml/min/1.73 m2, and dialysis, respectively; p < 0.001. Mortality was higher in a graded fashion at lower admission eGFR groups (1.1%, 1.5%, 2.0%, 3.0%, 5.0%, and 4.2%, respectively; p < 0.001). Steep covariate-adjusted associations between admission eGFR and mortality were observed across EF subgroups, but was slightly stronger for HF with reduced EF compared with HF with mid-range or preserved EF (pinteraction = 0.045).

Conclusions: Despite facing elevated risks of mortality, patients with comorbid HF with reduced EF and kidney disease are not optimally treated with evidence-based medical therapies, even at levels of eGFR where such therapies would not be contraindicated by kidney dysfunction. Further efforts are required to mitigate risk in comorbid HF and kidney disease.

Keywords: glomerular filtration rate; heart failure; kidney disease; outcomes; therapy.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Comorbidity
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Glomerular Filtration Rate / physiology*
  • Heart Failure / epidemiology*
  • Heart Failure / physiopathology
  • Hospitalization / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Kidney / physiopathology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Quality Improvement*
  • Registries*
  • Renal Insufficiency, Chronic / epidemiology
  • Renal Insufficiency, Chronic / physiopathology*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Ventricular Function, Left / physiology