Nationwide survey on acute heart failure in cardiology ward services in Italy

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Abstract

Aims

Chronic heart failure (HF) is recognized as an important public health problem but little attention has been focused on acute-stage HF.

Methods and results

Nationwide, prospective, observational study setting 206 cardiology centres with intensive cardiac care units. During 3 months, 2807 patients diagnosed as having de novo acute HF (44%) or worsening chronic HF (56%) were enrolled. Acute pulmonary oedema was the presenting clinical feature in 49.6% of patients, cardiogenic shock in 7.7%, and worsened NYHA functional class in 42.7% of cases. Anaemia (Hb<12 g/dL) was present in 46% of patients, renal dysfunction (creatinine ≥1.5 mg%) in 47%, and hyponatraemia (≤136 mEq/L) in 45%. An ejection fraction (EF)>40% was found in 34% of cases. Intravenous diuretics, nitrates, and inotropes were given to 95, 51, and 25% of patients, respectively. The median duration of hospital stay was 9 days. In-hospital mortality rate was 7.3%. Older age, use of inotropic drugs, elevated troponin, hyponatraemia, anaemia, and elevated blood urea nitrogen were independent predictors of all-cause death; prior revascularization procedures and elevated blood pressure were indicators of a better outcome. The rehospitalization rate within 6 months was 38.1%, all-cause mortality from discharge to 6 months was 12.8%.

Conclusion

Acute HF is an ominous condition, needing more research activity and resources.

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