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Billions of dollars at stake as Canada comes to grips with soaring heart failure costs
Date:10/22/2011

Vancouver Heart failure (HF) costs are headed for the economic stratosphere, even as researchers come up with simple tests and strategies to bring them back to earth.

An assessment of the growing problem and a new initiative to curb costs and increase efficacy in dealing with heart failure patients when they present to emergency departments were the subject of two major studies presented at the Canadian Cardiovascular Congress 2011, co-hosted by the Heart and Stroke Foundation and the Canadian Cardiovascular Society.

Approximately half a million Canadians have heart failure. Ten per cent or 50,000 of those patients will have advanced heart failure with a 50 per cent chance of surviving one year. The number of patients living with heart failure is on the rise because more people are surviving heart attacks thanks to improved diagnosis and treatment.

According to Dr. Debbie Feldman of the faculty of medicine and the school of rehabilitation at the University of Montreal, the role played by the hospital emergency department (ED) is crucial in securing successful outcomes in HF treatment, both medically and economically.

In Dr. Feldman's study, which was carried out in eight Quebec hospitals, less than a third of patients who visited an emergency department for heart failure were followed up within two weeks the time period recommended by Canadian Cardiovascular Society (CCS) guidelines.

This is very troubling, says Dr. Feldman, whose study shows, for the first time, that lack of adherence to the CCS guidelines is associated with worse outcomes.

All 551 patients in Dr. Feldman's study had a diagnosis of heart failure confirmed when they presented to the ED. Their average age was 75 years; 51 per cent were males, and 49 per cent were females.

By four weeks following discharge from the ED, 51 per cent had consulted with a physician.

Over the six month follow-up period, 25 per cent returned to
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Contact: Amanda Bates
amanda@curvecommunications.com
604-306-0027
Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada
Source:Eurekalert

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