NHLBI study finds improved heart failure survival

October 30, 2002

Survival after a heart failure diagnosis has greatly improved over the past 50 years, according to a study from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), part of the National Institutes of Health. The study, which analyzed data from the NHLBI's landmark Framingham Heart Study (FHS), found that the risk of dying after being diagnosed with heart failure had dropped by about a third in men and women during that period.

The study, which appears in the October 31, 2002, issue of The New England Journal of Medicine, also found that new cases of heart failure had dropped by about a third for women during the same period. However, the number of new cases for men remained unchanged.

"These findings offer good news about a highly lethal disease," said NHLBI Director Dr. Claude Lenfant. "However, heart failure still affects far too many Americans and more than half of those who develop it die within 5 years of diagnosis.

"Prevention remains the best defense against heart failure. Americans can greatly reduce their chances of developing it by taking steps to prevent or control high blood pressure, heart disease, and other conditions that can lead to heart failure."

Heart failure occurs when the heart loses its ability to pump enough blood through the body. It often develops slowly, over many years. About 4.8 million Americans have heart failure, with about 550,000 new cases being diagnosed each year. Heart failure contributes to about 287,000 deaths a year.

In the new study, researchers, led by FHS Director Dr. Daniel Levy, analyzed data on 10,317 FHS participants drawn from the original enrollees and the offspring generation, including their spouses. The study had equal numbers of men and women.

The original participants, who began enrolling in FHS in 1948, were evaluated every 2 years; the offspring generation, which began enrolling in 1971, was evaluated in 1979 and every 4 years after that. The evaluation included a physical examination, laboratory tests, and an electrocardiogram. Throughout the 50 years of data collection, FHS used the same criteria to define heart failure.

In order to assess trends, researchers divided the data into four periods: 1950-69, 1970-79, 1980-89, and 1990-99.

Findings include:"The reason that new cases are on the decrease for women but not men may have to do with a gender difference in the causes," said Levy. "Although high blood pressure and heart attack are important causes of heart failure in both men and women, uncontrolled hypertension is more prominent as a risk factor for the disease in women, while heart attack plays a greater role in men.

"Treatment for high blood pressure has improved greatly over the past 50 years and has been shown to dramatically cut the number of new cases of heart failure. This may explain why fewer women are developing the disease," he continued.

"Heart attack treatment and survival have improved since 1950 as well. But, many of those who now survive have a damaged heart, which makes them vulnerable to heart failure. A consequence of advances in the treatment of heart attack is a growing group of patients at risk for the occurrence of heart failure."

He added that it is likely that the availability of drugs and other treatments for heart failure is the key reason survival has improved in the past 50 years.

But he cautioned that, since the findings are based on one, mostly white study, more research must be done to check trends on the survival and number of new cases in other racial and ethnic groups.
NHLBI news releases and information on heart failure and other heart-related topics are available online at www.nhlbi.nih.gov.

NIH/National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute

Related Heart Failure Articles from Brightsurf:

Top Science Tip Sheet on heart failure, heart muscle cells, heart attack and atrial fibrillation results
Newly discovered pathway may have potential for treating heart failure - New research model helps predict heart muscle cells' impact on heart function after injury - New mass spectrometry approach generates libraries of glycans in human heart tissue - Understanding heart damage after heart attack and treatment may provide clues for prevention - Understanding atrial fibrillation's effects on heart cells may help find treatments - New research may lead to therapy for heart failure caused by ICI cancer medication

Machining the heart: New predictor for helping to beat chronic heart failure
Researchers from Kanazawa University have used machine learning to predict which classes of chronic heart failure patients are most likely to experience heart failure death, and which are most likely to develop an arrhythmic death or sudden cardiac death.

Heart attacks, heart failure, stroke: COVID-19's dangerous cardiovascular complications
A new guide from emergency medicine doctors details the potentially deadly cardiovascular complications COVID-19 can cause.

Autoimmunity-associated heart dilation tied to heart-failure risk in type 1 diabetes
In people with type 1 diabetes without known cardiovascular disease, the presence of autoantibodies against heart muscle proteins was associated with cardiac magnetic resonance (CMR) imaging evidence of increased volume of the left ventricle (the heart's main pumping chamber), increased muscle mass, and reduced pumping function (ejection fraction), features that are associated with higher risk of failure in the general population

Transcendental Meditation prevents abnormal enlargement of the heart, reduces chronic heart failure
A randomized controlled study recently published in the Hypertension issue of Ethnicity & Disease found the Transcendental Meditation (TM) technique helps prevent abnormal enlargement of the heart compared to health education (HE) controls.

Beta blocker use identified as hospitalization risk factor in 'stiff heart' heart failure
A new study links the use of beta-blockers to heart failure hospitalizations among those with the common 'stiff heart' heart failure subtype.

Type 2 diabetes may affect heart structure and increase complications and death among heart failure patients of Asian ethnicity
The combination of heart failure and Type 2 diabetes can lead to structural changes in the heart, poorer quality of life and increased risk of death, according to a multi-country study in Asia.

Preventive drug therapy may increase right-sided heart failure risk in patients who receive heart devices
Patients treated preemptively with drugs to reduce the risk of right-sided heart failure after heart device implantation may experience the opposite effect and develop heart failure and post-operative bleeding more often than patients not receiving the drugs.

How the enzyme lipoxygenase drives heart failure after heart attacks
Heart failure after a heart attack is a global epidemic leading to heart failure pathology.

Novel heart pump shows superior outcomes in advanced heart failure
Severely ill patients with advanced heart failure who received a novel heart pump -- the HeartMate 3 left ventricular assist device (LVAD) -- suffered significantly fewer strokes, pump-related blood clots and bleeding episodes after two years, compared with similar patients who received an older, more established pump, according to research presented at the American College of Cardiology's 68th Annual Scientific Session.

Read More: Heart Failure News and Heart Failure Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.