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Geographic Disparities Seen in Heart Failure Hospitalizations

Last Updated: January 19, 2010.

In Medicare beneficiaries, the rates of hospitalization for heart failure vary widely by region; and, in addition, geriatric conditions in older patients with heart failure are strongly and independently associated with short- and long-term mortality, according to two studies in the Jan. 26 Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

TUESDAY, Jan. 19 (HealthDay News) -- In Medicare beneficiaries, the rates of hospitalization for heart failure vary widely by region; and, in addition, geriatric conditions in older patients with heart failure are strongly and independently associated with short- and long-term mortality, according to two studies in the Jan. 26 Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Michele Casper, Ph.D., of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, and colleagues analyzed 2000 to 2006 data on fee-for-service Medicare beneficiaries living in the United States, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. In U.S. counties, they found that the annual age-adjusted heart failure hospitalization rate varied from seven to 61 per 1,000 Medicare beneficiaries, and observed higher rates in the East than in the West and among African-Americans than Caucasians.

Sarwat I. Chaudhry, M.D., of the Yale University School of Medicine in New Haven, Conn., and colleagues analyzed data on a national sample of Medicare beneficiaries hospitalized for heart failure. Of the 21 geriatric conditions considered, they found that the top predictors of short- and long-term morality were dementia and mobility disability.

"The recent interest in evaluating and improving health care quality marks a critical time in medical history as it offers a crucial opportunity to restructure a fragmented system fraught with missed opportunities. As vanguards of this system, we, the researchers, clinicians and policy makers, are charged with the unique responsibility of identifying and advancing measures to improve patient-centeredness as the foundation for higher quality health care," state the authors of an accompanying editorial.

Abstract - Casper
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Abstract - Chaudhry
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Editorial (subscription or payment may be required)


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