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Medical News & Perspectives
June 10, 2009

Researchers Say Efforts Still Fall Short in Improving Heart Failure Outcomes

JAMA. 2009;301(22):2317. doi:10.1001/jama.2009.781

Orlando, Fla—Heart failure causes about 300 000 deaths annually in the United States, yet progress in treating it remains frustratingly slow, according to researchers speaking at the scientific sessions of the American College of Cardiology (ACC) meeting held here in March.

Although patients admitted with acute heart failure syndromes appear to improve during hospitalization, they have high postdischarge mortality and readmission rates. This situation results, in part, because of underutilization of many effective therapies. About 20% of patients diagnosed as having heart failure die within a year. Among patients older than 65 years, it is the most common diagnosis at hospital discharge and the primary cause of readmission within 60 days of leaving the hospital (Shah SJ and Gheorghiade M. JAMA. 2008;300[4]:431-433). The American Heart Association estimates the direct and indirect cost of heart failure for 2009 at more than $37 billion, with a significant portion reflecting rehospitalization.

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