Hospitalizations for Heart Failure on Downward Trend

While overall hospitalizations for heart failure decreased, problems persist among minority populations.

A new study revealed that the number of hospitalizations for heart failure has decreased over the past decade. Despite the negative trend, the authors indicated that significant disparities exist between blacks and white, as well as among men and women, according to a study published by Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes.

This study is the first to explore the racial and ethnic differences in hospitalization prevalence between white, blacks, Hispanics, and Asians/Pacific Islanders with heart failure.

Included in the study were data from the National Inpatient Survey between 2002 and 2013, which contains data from 7 million to 8 million annual hospital discharges.

The investigators discovered that hospitalizations among patients with heart failure were reduced by 30% between 2002 and 2013. While the authors discovered an overall downturn in hospitalizations, they found that the rate among men increased 39% higher than women, according to the study.

The authors also found that hospitalization rate for blacks was more than 200% higher compared with whites during this time; however, they noted that there were no significant changes in hospitalization rate between 2002 to 2013.

The hospitalization rate for Hispanics plummeted faster than whites, with the disparity between the 2 populations falling to 4% higher among Hispanic men and decreasing from a 55% higher rate among Hispanic women in 2002 to only 8% higher in 2013, according to the study.

The overall decrease in hospitalization among patients who have heart failure suggests that efforts to improve outpatient treatment and prevention have been successful.

The authors said the findings also show that the measures may not be equally distributed across all races or ethnicities and genders, according to the study. Additionally, the investigators believe that the higher hospitalization rates among blacks and Hispanics are related to social factors that impact health, rather than genetics.

Further studies should be conducted to determine the impact of hospitalization among these patients and to discover which interventions have proven successful.

“Disparities in disease burden for males and especially African-Americans have not improved in the recent decade,” said lead author Boback Ziaeian, MD, PhD. “The findings highlight the need to address population-based health, prevention and outpatient management of chronic diseases.”