National heart failure (HF) hospitalization rates have not been appropriately age standardized by sex or race/ethnicity. Reporting hospital utilization trends by subgroup is important for monitoring population health and developing interventions to eliminate disparities.Methods and Results—
The National Inpatient Sample (NIS) was used to estimate the crude and age-standardized rates of HF hospitalization between 2002 and 2013 by sex and race/ethnicity. Direct standardization was used to age-standardize rates to the 2000 US standard population. Relative differences between subgroups were reported. The national age-adjusted HF hospitalization rate decreased 30.8% from 526.86 to 364.66 per 100 000 between 2002 and 2013. Although hospitalizations decreased for all subgroups, the ratio of the age-standardized rate for men compared with women increased from 20% greater to 39% (P trend=0.002) between 2002 and 2013. Black men had a rate that was 229% (P trend=0.141) and black women, 240% (P trend=0.725) with reference to whites in 2013 with no significant change between 2002 and 2013. Hispanic men had a rate that was 32% greater in 2002 and the difference narrowed to 4% (P trend=0.047) greater in 2013 relative to whites. For Hispanic women, the rate was 55% greater in 2002 and narrowed to 8% greater (P trend=0.004) in 2013 relative to whites. Asian/Pacific Islander men had a 27% lower rate in 2002 that improved to 43% (P trend=0.040) lower in 2013 relative to whites. For Asian/Pacific Islander women, the hospitalization rate was 24% lower in 2002 and improved to 43% (P trend=0.021) lower in 2013 relative to whites.Conclusions—
National HF hospitalization rates have decreased steadily during the recent decade. Disparities in HF burden and hospital utilization by sex and race/ethnicity persist. Significant population health interventions are needed to reduce the HF hospitalization burden among blacks. An evaluation of factors explaining the improvements in the HF hospitalization rates among Hispanics and Asian/Pacific Islanders is needed.