Additionally, the researchers found that patients with the more common, but less severe, form of the disease consume similar amounts of health care resources.
These findings are important, said Lawrence Liao, M.D., Duke cardiologist and principal investigator of the Duke studies, because heart failure is the only cardiovascular disease whose incidence is increasing in the U.S. Given the aging of the population, Liao said that national policy makers need concrete data in deciding how to allocate scarce health care resources both for treatment and further research.
Liao presented the results of the Duke analysis today (Nov. 12, 2003) at the 76th annual scientific session of the American Heart Association (AHA). His research into this issue was supported by an AHA grant.
"This is the first study to determine the long-term inpatient and outpatient costs of heart failure in an elderly population," Liao said. "Even after accounting for their worse survival and greater co-morbid illness, these patients consume substantially more health care resources than patients without heart failure, and these higher costs persisted through four years of follow-up."
Heart failure is a condition marked by the inability of the heart muscles to pump enough oxygen and nutrients in the blood to the body's tissues. Also known as congestive heart failure, it has many causes, including infections of the heart, coronary artery disease, high blood pressure, previous heart attacks and valve problems. It is estimated that 4.7 million Americans suffer from the condition, with 400,000 new cases reported each year. Once diagnosed with heart failure, about 50 percent of patients wi
Contact: Richard Merritt
Duke University Medical Center