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Death rates decline for advanced heart failure patients, but outcomes are still not ideal
Date:5/23/2013

UCLA researchers examining outcomes for advanced heart-failure patients over the past two decades have found that, coinciding with the increased availability and use of new therapies, overall mortality has decreased and sudden cardiac death, caused by the rapid onset of severe abnormal heart rhythms, has declined.

However, the team found that even today, with these significant improvements, one-third of patients don't survive more than three years after being diagnosed with advanced disease. Heart failure is increasingly common, affecting close to 6 million individuals in the United States alone.

"We are doing a good job of ensuring that patients receive the latest therapies for heart failure, but we still have a lot more work to do," said senior author Dr. Tamara Horwich, an assistant professor of cardiology at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. "It is very sobering that despite recent improvements, a third of advanced heart-failure patients aren't surviving past three years."

The findings are published in the May issue of the journal CirculationHeart Failure.

The study focused on heart failure patients referred to UCLA, a major center for advanced heart failure management and heart transplants. The researchers examined outcomes in 2,507 adults who had "heart failure with reduced ejection fraction," which is characterized by a weak heart muscle.

Patients were divided into three six-year eras, based on when they received care: (1) 199398, (2) 19992004 and (3) 200510. Researchers looked at patient outcomes for each of the groups at one-, two- and three-year follow-up points after diagnosis.

Significant differences emerged between the eras. In the second and third eras, the team found greater use of therapies that help prolong life, including medications such as beta-blockers and aldosterone antagonists and devices that help control and stabilize irregular heart rhythms, including im
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Contact: Rachel Champeau
rchampeau@mednet.ucla.edu
310-794-2270
University of California - Los Angeles Health Sciences
Source:Eurekalert

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