Age- and sex-related differences in use of guideline-recommended care and mortality among patients with incident heart failure in Denmark

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Abstract

Background

data are sparse on age- and sex-related differences in use of guideline-recommended care and subsequent mortality among patients with heart failure (HF).

Methods

we identified 24,308 incident patients with a verified primary diagnosis of HF recorded during 2003–2010 in the Danish Heart Failure Registry. The registry monitors guideline-recommended processes of care: echocardiography, New York Heart Association Classification, treatment with angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors/angiotensin II receptor blockers, betablockers, physical training and patient education.

Results

older age was associated with lower use of recommended processes of care. Relative risk (RR) for receiving processes of care varied for men >80 years from 0.52 to 0.91 compared with men ≤65 years. Corresponding RRs among women >80 years varied from 0.55 to 0.89 compared with women ≤65 years. Older age was as expected associated with higher 1 year mortality (32.6% among men >80 years versus 5.4% among men ≤65 years and 33.8% among women >80 years versus 6.6% among women ≤65 years). The corresponding hazard ratios (HRs) were 4.54 (95% CI 3.93–5.25) and 4.08 (95% CI 3.51–4.75) for the oldest versus youngest men and women, after adjustment for patient characteristics. Adjustment for differences in care lowered HRs among the oldest age groups (adjusted HR 3.87 for men and 3.48 for women, respectively). The findings were also confirmed when stratifying the patients according to left ventricular ejection fraction ≤40% and >40%.

Conclusion

older patients with HF were less likely to receive guideline-recommended processes of care, irrespective of sex. Lower level of care may contribute to an excess mortality observed among the older patients.

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