The number of elderly individuals newly diagnosed with heart failure has declined during the past ten years, but the number of those living with the condition has increased, according to a report in the February 25 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.
“Heart failure affects nearly 5 million people in the
Lesley H. Curtis, Ph.D., of the Duke University School of Medicine,
The yearly occurrence of heart failure decreased from 32 per 1,000 person-years (years of observation time during which each person is at risk to develop the disease) in 1994 to 29 per 1,000 person-years in 2003. A sharper decline was seen in Medicare patients age 80 to 84 (from 57.5 to 48.4 per 1,000 person-years), while a slight increase was seen in those age 65 to 69 (from 17.5 to 19.3 per 1,000 person-years).
The number of patients living with the condition increased steadily from about 140,000 to approximately 200,000 with more men living with the disease than women each year. “The proportion of beneficiaries with a heart failure diagnosis grew from 90 per 1,000 in 1994 to 120 per 1,000 in 2000, and remained at about 120 per 1,000 through 2003,” the authors write.
“Although the incidence of heart failure has declined somewhat during the past decade, modest survival gains have resulted in an increase in the number of patients living with heart failure,” the authors conclude. “Identifying optimal strategies for the treatment and management of heart failure will become increasingly important as the size of the Medicare population grows.”
Arch Intern Med. 2008; 168:418-424.