Prevalence, incidence and survival of heart failure: a systematic review

Heart. 2022 Aug 11;108(17):1351-1360. doi: 10.1136/heartjnl-2021-320131.


Studies of the epidemiology of heart failure in the general population can inform assessments of disease burden, research, public health policy and health system care delivery. We performed a systematic review of prevalence, incidence and survival for all available population-representative studies to inform the Global Burden of Disease 2020. We examined population-based studies published between 1990 and 2020 using structured review methods and database search strings. Studies were sought in which heart failure was defined by clinical diagnosis using structured criteria such as the Framingham or European Society of Cardiology criteria, with studies using alternate case definitions identified for comparison. Study results were extracted with descriptive characteristics including age range, location and case definition. Search strings identified 42 360 studies over a 30-year period, of which 790 were selected for full-text review and 125 met criteria for inclusion. 45 sources reported estimates of prevalence, 41 of incidence and 58 of mortality. Prevalence ranged from 0.2%, in a Hong Kong study of hospitalised heart failure patients in 1997, to 17.7%, in a US study of Medicare beneficiaries aged 65+ from 2002 to 2013. Collapsed estimates of incidence ranged from 0.1%, in the EPidémiologie de l'Insuffisance Cardiaque Avancée en Lorraine (EPICAL) study of acute heart failure in France among those aged 20-80 years in 1994, to 4.3%, in a US study of Medicare beneficiaries 65+ from 1994 to 2003. One-year heart failure case fatality ranged from 4% to 45% with an average of 33% overall and 24% for studies across all adult ages. Diagnostic criteria, case ascertainment strategy and demographic breakdown varied widely between studies. Prevalence, incidence and survival for heart failure varied widely across countries and studies, reflecting a range of study design. Heart failure remains a high prevalence disease among older adults with a high risk of death at 1 year.

Keywords: Global Burden of Disease; heart failure.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Cost of Illness
  • Heart Failure* / diagnosis
  • Heart Failure* / epidemiology
  • Heart Failure* / therapy
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Medicare*
  • Prevalence
  • United States