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Researchers confirm increasing risk for heart failure in aging US population

Although heart failure is often referred to as one of the new "epidemics" of cardiovascular disease in the 21st century, there have been few community-based studies that gauge the risks of heart failure in a general population. In a report published in the July issue of The American Journal of Medicine, researchers from the University of Massachusetts Medical School looked at the incidence of heart failure in residents of the Worcester, Massachusetts metropolitan area. The results of this study suggest that heart failure is an important clinical syndrome affecting residents of this large northeast community. Several groups at high risk for developing or dying from heart failure can be identified and targeted for preventive efforts as well as for the receipt of effective treatment modalities.

Information was collected for 2548 adult men and women of all ages hospitalized for possible heart failure (HF) at all 11 greater Worcester medical centers during 2000. Demographic, medical history, laboratory and physiologic measures, and clinical characteristics of the study sample were determined through the review of information contained in hospital medical records. The incidence rate (per 100,000) of HF was 213. Occurrence of acute HF increased markedly with advancing age and women were at greater risk for HF than men (incidence rates [per 100 000] = 246 and 189, respectively).

In the total study sample, 5.1% of patients with decompensated HF died during the acute hospitalization. Among patients with a first documented episode of HF, 5.5% of patients died. Patients dying during the acute hospitalization were more likely to be older, of desirable body weight, and have a history of anemia or stroke. Patients with higher concentrations of blood urea nitrogen, serum creatinine, and admission heart rates were more likely to die than respective comparison groups. On the other hand, patients with lower serum sodium concentrations and lower systolic and diastolic b
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29-Jun-2005


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