Heart Failure



By Anthony E Steimle, MD, FACC

Spring 2007 - Volume 11 Number 2

https://doi.org/10.7812/TPP/06-149

Introduction

Heart failure has emerged as a major public health challenge. The condition is common, affecting about 2% of Americans1 as well as 6-10% of the US population aged 65 years or older.2 Remarkably, one in five of us will develop heart failure some time before we die.3 Despite advances in therapy, nearly half of heart failure patients are dead within five years of diagnosis.1 Heart failure is the most common cause of hospitalization among Medicare beneficiaries and is the single costliest Medicare diagnosis.4 Heart failure also has large impact within Kaiser Permanente (KP) Northern California. Patients with heart failure are 3.5 times as likely to die, spend 6 times as many days in the hospital, and incur 4 times the health care costs compared with patients of the same age and sex. (Unpublished data, B Fireman, 2006.)a

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