Background - Data are limited regarding the classification and prognosis of patients with congestive heart failure (CHF) in the community. Methods and Results - Using the resources of the Rochester Epidemiology Project, we evaluated all patients receiving a first diagnosis of CHF in Olmsted County, Minnesota, in 1991 (n=216). Among these patients, 88% were ≥65 years and 49% were ≥80 years of age. The prognosis of patients with a new diagnosis of CHF was poor; survival was 86±2% at 3 months, 76±3% at 1 year, and 35±3% at 5 years. Of the 216 patients, 137 (63%) had an assessment of ejection fraction. In these patients, systolic function was preserved (ejection fraction ≥50%) in 59 (43%) and reduced (ejection fraction <50%)in 78 (57%). Survival adjusted for age, sex, NYHA class, and coronary artery disease was not significantly different between patients with preserved and those with reduced systolic function (relative risk, 0.80; P=0.369). ACE inhibitors were used in only 44% of the total population with CHF. Conclusions - The present study reports the clinical characteristics and natural history of CHF as it presents in the community in the vasodilator era. CHF is a disease of the 'very elderly,' frequently occurs in the setting of normal ejection fraction, and has a poor prognosis, regardless of the level of systolic function. Diagnostic and therapeutic methods are underused in the community.
- Heart failure
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
- Physiology (medical)