Background: Several cardiotoxic substances contribute to the development of heart failure (HF). The burden of comorbid substance use disorders (SUD) among patients with HF is under-characterized.
Objectives: To describe the national burden of comorbid SUD (tobacco, alcohol, or drug use disorders) among hospitalized HF patients in the U.S.
Methods: We used data from the 2014 National Inpatient Sample to calculate the proportion of hospitalizations for a primary HF admission with tobacco, alcohol, or drug use disorder diagnoses, accounting for demographic factors. Drug use disorder analysis was further sub-divided into specific illicit substance categories.
Results: There were a total of 989,080 HF hospitalizations of which 35.3% (n=348,995) had a documented SUD. Tobacco use disorder (TUD) was most common (n= 327,220, 33.1%) followed by drug use disorder (DUD) (n=34,600, 3.5%) and alcohol use disorder (AUD) (n=34,285, 3.5%). Female sex was associated with less TUD (OR 0.59; 95% CI, 0.58-0.60), AUD (OR 0.23; 95% CI, 0.22-0.25) or DUD (OR 0.58; 95% CI 0.55-0.62). Tobacco, alcohol, cocaine, and opioid use disorders were highest among HF patients age 45 to 55, while cannabis and amphetamine use was highest in those <45 years. Native American race (versus White) was associated with increased risk of AUD (OR 1.67; 95% CI 1.27-2.20). Black race was associated with increased risk of AUD (OR 1.09; 95% CI 1.02-1.16) or DUD (OR 1.63; 95% CI 1.53-1.74). Medicaid insurance (versus Medicare) was associated with greater TUD (OR 1.27; 95% CI 1.23-1.32), AUD (OR 1.74; 95% CI 1.62-1.87), and DUD (OR 2.15; 95% CI 2.01-2.30). Decreasing quartiles of median household income were associated with increasing SUD.
Conclusions: Comorbid SUD disproportionately affects certain HF populations, including men, younger age groups, lower SES patients, and race/ethnic minorities. Further research on interventions to improve prevention and treatment of SUD among hospitalized HF patients are needed given the high rates of SUD in this population. Systematically screening hospitalized HF patients for SUD may reveal opportunities for treatment and secondary prevention.