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Heart Failure Hospitalizations Up Sharply
Date:11/9/2008

with heart failure," he said. "While we're successful now with heart attacks more frequently, this is part of what's left over."

The heart failure epidemic is mirrored by a number of other epidemics, such as high blood pressure, obesity and diabetes, all of which are also risk factors for heart failure, the study authors said.

The study, the first to look at heart failure hospitalization rates over the past three decades, examined hospital discharge data on more than 2.2 million people aged 65 and older from 1980 through 2006.

The researchers, from Drexel's School of Public Health in Philadelphia, found that:

  • The hospitalization rate for heart failure jumped 131 percent between 1980 and 2006.
  • The number of women hospitalized for heart failure increased 55 percent annually, compared to 20 percent annually for men.
  • The relative risk of being hospitalized for heart failure was 37 percent higher for those living from 2002 to 2006 than for those living from 1980 to 1984.
  • People aged 85 and older had four times the risk of being hospitalized with heart failure, compared to those aged 65 to 74. People aged 75 to 84 had double the risk of hospitalization compared to those a decade younger.
  • Hospitalization rates for coronary heart disease and stroke have decreased since the mid-1980s; heart failure is the only one of three major forms of cardiovascular disease to show an increase.

The trend is likely to get worse as the U.S. population continues to age, the study authors said.

But there are some efforts under way to lessen the current and future burden, Erwin said.

"Several organizations are working hard to develop disease management strategies, very basic things we can do for heart failure that, if we adhere to them, the likelihood that a patient will be readmitted due to exacerbation is very much lower," he said. "Those are going to be
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