Introduction: Heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF) affects about 5% of people 65 or older, with a higher prevalence in women. Previous studies suggest that women with HFpEF may live longer than men. Further understanding of mortality outcomes by gender could be useful in implementing gender-specific treatment strategies to improve outcomes in HFpEF patients.
Hypothesis: We assessed the hypothesis that women have a lower rate of total mortality than males in a US Veteran HFpEF cohort.
Methods: We used a validated algorithm to curate a HFpEF cohort using ICD9 codes, laboratory values, medications, and ejection fraction values from the national Veterans Affairs database. This algorithm had 88% sensitivity and 96% specificity. We examined crude and adjusted mortality rates by gender, beginning at the time of heart failure diagnosis with follow-up through 2016. The adjusted mortality rate was directly standardized to the population of veterans with heart failure (n= 626,179) according to distribution of age, race, cardiovascular disease (CVD), and chronic kidney disease (CKD). Crude and standardized rate ratios were calculated from the mortality rates.
Results: Our HFpEF cohort (n= 74,937) included 72,267 men and 2,670 women. Mean age was 72.5 (11.2) in men and 69.1 (14.3) in women at the time of heart failure diagnosis. Males were 85.2% white, 33.7% had CVD, and 27.1% had CKD, whereas females were 82.5% white, 28.7% had CVD, and 20.5% had CKD. During a mean follow up of 4.8 (3.7) years, 52,703 deaths occurred in men and 1,614 deaths occurred in women.The crude mortality rate was significantly lower for females (109.7/1000 person-years) compared to males (153.5/1000 person-years). Corresponding crude incidence rate ratio (95% CI) for total mortality comparing females to males was 0.71 (0.69-0.74; p<.0001). However, after standardizing, there was no significant difference in total mortality rates between men (170.0/1000 person-years) and women (173.4/1000 person-years). The standardized mortality rate ratio was 1.02 (95% CI: 0.84-1.23; p=0.8397).
Conclusions: In conclusion, our data do not show any difference in total mortality rate between men and women following the diagnosis of HFpEF.