BACKGROUND: Prior reports indicate that living in a rural area may be associated with worse health outcomes. However, data on rurality and heart failure (HF) outcomes are scarce. METHODS AND RESULTS: Residents from 6 southeastern Minnesota counties with a first-ever code for HF (International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision [ICD-9], code 428, and International Classification of Diseases, Tenth Revision [ICD-10] code I50) between January 1, 2013 and December 31, 2016, were identified. Resident address was classified according to the rural-urban commuting area codes. Rurality was defined as living in a nonmetropolitan area. Cox regression was used to analyze the association between living in a rural versus urban area and death; Andersen-Gill models were used for hospitaliza-tion and emergency department visits. Among 6003 patients with HF (mean age 74 years, 48% women), 43% lived in a rural area. Rural patients were older and had a lower educational attainment and less comorbidity compared with patients living in urban areas (P<0.001). After a mean (SD) follow-up of 2.8 (1.7) years, 2440 deaths, 20 506 emergency department visits, and 11 311 hospitalizations occurred. After adjustment, rurality was independently associated with an increased risk of death (hazard ratio [HR], 1.18; 95% CI, 1.09–1.29) and a reduced risk of emergency department visits (HR, 0.89; 95% CI, 0.82–0.97) and hospitalizations (HR, 0.78; 95% CI, 0.73–0.84). CONCLUSIONS: Among patients with HF, living in a rural area is associated with an increased risk of death and fewer emergency department visits and hospitalizations. Further study to identify and address the mechanisms through which rural residence influences mortality and healthcare utilization in HF is needed in order to reduce disparities in rural health.
- Rural-urban commuting area
- heart failure
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine