[Skip to Navigation]
September 1988

Precipitating Factors Leading to Decompensation of Heart Failure: Traits Among Urban Blacks

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Medicine, Division of Adult Cardiology, Cook County Hospital and University of Illinois at Chicago. Presented in part at the 59th Annual Scientific Sessions of the American Heart Association, Dallas, Nov 20, 1986.

Arch Intern Med. 1988;148(9):2013-2016. doi:10.1001/archinte.1988.00380090087021

• Potential precipitating factors that led to cardiac decompensation and subsequent hospital admission for heart failure were examined in 101 patients in a large public hospital serving a predominantly working-class minority population. Ninety-seven percent of patients were black; their age was 59± 14 years (mean ±SD); on average, they were hospitalized three times in the preceding year for problems related to their heart failure. Potential precipitating factors for decompensated heart failure were identified in 93% of patients. Lack of adherence to the prescribed medical regimen was the most commonly identified causative factor and was noted in 64% of the cases; noncompliance with diet amounted to 22%, with drugs to 6%, and with the combination of drugs and diet to 37%. Other factors also related to hospitalization were cardiac arrhythmias (29%), emotional/environmental issues (26%), inadequately conceived drug therapy (17%), pulmonary infections (12%), and thyrotoxicosis (1%). Thus, the key preventive measure necessary in at least two thirds of patients centered around better adherence to drug and/or diet regimen, highlighting the precept that better patient education is mandatory if we are to minimize the number of hospital admissions for decompensated heart failure.

(Arch Intern Med 1988;148:2013-2016)

Add or change institution