Reduced Mortality in Very Elderly Heart Failure Patients

Thirty-day all-cause readmissions in very elderly heart failure patients remain unchanged

WEDNESDAY, April 6 (HealthDay News) -- In the last decade, mortality for elderly heart failure patients has improved, but readmission to the hospital still occurs frequently, according to a study published online April 5 in Circulation: Heart Failure.

Rashmee U. Shah, M.D., from Stanford University in Palo Alto, Calif., and colleagues examined the characteristics and outcomes of 21,397 very elderly patients after the first heart failure hospitalization. Patients aged 80 years and older who were discharged with heart failure from the hospital between 1999 and 2008 were identified and assessed for death during index admission, 30-day and one-year mortality, and 30-day all-cause and heart failure readmissions. The differences in outcomes between different age cohorts were evaluated.

The investigators found that there was a significant decrease in the 30-day mortality (14 to 7 percent) and one-year mortality (49 to 27 percent). The decrease was greatest for patients aged 90 years and older (29.8 improvement in one-year mortality). One-year mortality was higher for those aged 90 and older, compared to 80- to 85-year-olds. Thirty-day readmissions did not change and were similar between age groups.

"While older patients experienced significantly fewer readmissions for heart failure over time, they continued to be readmitted frequently for other conditions after their index hospitalization for heart failure. Identifying predictors for readmissions among the very elderly population will be crucial in order to more effectively manage this rapidly growing segment of heart failure patients," the authors write.

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