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Researchers Describe Epidemiology of Heart Failure

Last Updated: April 14, 2009.

Among older Americans, heart failure is a common condition that disproportionately affects blacks. But many cases could be prevented if risk factors were modified, according to a study published in the April 13 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

TUESDAY, April 14 (HealthDay News) -- Among older Americans, heart failure is a common condition that disproportionately affects blacks. But many cases could be prevented if risk factors were modified, according to a study published in the April 13 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Andreas Kalogeropoulos, M.D., of Emory University in Atlanta, and colleagues studied 2,934 initially heart failure-free subjects (mean age 73.6 years) who were enrolled in the Health, Aging, and Body Composition Study.

During a median follow-up of 7.1 years, the researchers found that 258 subjects (8.8 percent) developed heart failure and that males and blacks were disproportionately affected. In both whites and blacks, coronary heart disease and uncontrolled hypertension carried the highest population-attributable risks. Compared to whites, blacks had at least a 5 percent higher population-attributable risk associated with smoking, increased heart rate, coronary heart disease, left ventricular hypertrophy, uncontrolled blood pressure, and reduced glomerular filtration rate, as well as a higher rehospitalization rate (62.1 versus 30.3 hospitalizations per 100 person-years).

"Outcomes after development of heart failure remain poor," the authors conclude. "However, most risk factors for heart failure are modifiable or potentially amenable to interventions. Therefore, heart failure prevention efforts may succeed in reducing the community-based burden of heart failure. Considering the worsening risk factor profile and aging of the population, such efforts should be considered a public health priority."

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