Objectives: To estimate the independent effect of hospitalization for congestive heart failure (CHF) on subsequent mortality, readmission for CHF, rehospitalization for any reason, and change in functional status.
Design: Secondary analysis of the nationally representative Longitudinal Study on Aging, Baseline (1984) interview data are linked to Medicare hospitalization and death records for 1984-1991 and to functional status reports at three biennial follow-ups.
Setting: In-home and telephone interviews.
Participants: a total of 7527 noninstitutionalized older adults aged 70 years or older at baseline.
Measurements: Hospitalization for CHF was defined as having one or more episodes with primary or secondary discharge ICD9-CM codes of 428. Multivariable proportional hazards, logistic and linear regression, as well as multiple classification analysis, were used to estimate the independent effects of having been hospitalized for CHF.
Results: The adjusted risk ratios for having a primary or secondary hospital discharge diagnosis of CHF on mortality (compared with not having any CHF hospital discharge diagnoses) were 1.58 (CI95% = 1.40 to 1.78) and 1.29 (CI95% = 1.15 to 1.45), respectively (P < .001). CHF readmission and rehospitalization rates were substantial, ranging from 16.0 to 47.5% at 1 year, depending on the criteria employed. The adjusted odds ratios for having any subsequent hospitalizations associated with having a primary or secondary hospital discharge diagnosis of CHF (compared with not having any CHF hospital discharge diagnoses) were 7.70 (CI95% = 6.20 to 9.57) and 2.99 (CI95% = 2.51 to 3.56), respectively (P < .001). The percent increases in the number of hospital episodes, total charges, and total length of stay attributable to having been hospitalized for CHF were significant (P < .001) and ranged from 15.5 to 66.7%. Having been hospitalized for CHF was also related significantly to greater increases in the mean number of functional limitations at follow-up.
Conclusion: Hospitalization for CHF among older adults increases substantially the risk of subsequent mortality, readmission for CHF, rehospitalization for any reason, and greater functional decline. Therefore, greater attention to the prevention and management of CHF is needed.