BACKGROUND: Despite the magnitude and impact of heart failure (HF) in the United States, relatively little data are available that describe the prognosis associated with acute HF, especially from the perspective of a population-based investigation. The purpose of this nonconcurrent prospective study was to describe the overall, and changing trends therein, prognosis of 4228 patients discharged from all eleven greater Worcester (MA) medical centers after a documented episode of acute HF and factors associated with an increased risk of dying after hospital discharge.
METHODS: The study population consisted of residents of the Worcester metropolitan area discharged after being hospitalized for acute HF at all greater Worcester medical centers during 1995 (n = 1783) and 2000 (n = 2445).
RESULTS: The 3-month (20% versus 18%), 1-year (41% versus 38%), and 5-year (84% versus 82%) death rates were lower in patients discharged from all metropolitan Worcester hospitals in 2000 versus 1995, respectively. Improving long-term survival rates for patients discharged in 2000 as compared with 1995 were magnified after controlling for several confounding demographic and clinical factors of prognostic importance. A number of potentially modifiable demographic, medical history, and clinical factors were associated with an increased risk of dying during the first year after hospital discharge for acute HF.
CONCLUSION: The results of this community-wide observational study suggest improving trends in the long-term prognosis after acute HF. Despite these encouraging trends, the long-term prognosis for patients with acute HF remains poor, and several at-risk groups can be identified for early intervention and increased monitoring efforts.
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