Heart failure epidemiology 2000–2013: insights from the German Federal Health Monitoring System

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AimsConsiderable differences in the long-term trends of heart failure (HF) exist between different countries. To extend the existing knowledge on HF epidemiology in Germany, we analysed trends of HF-related hospitalizations, hospital days and in-hospital deaths during a 14-year period (2000–2013).Methods and resultsData were derived from the official German Federal Health Monitoring System, which includes an annual and complete enumeration of inpatients at the time of discharge from the hospital. HF cases were identified by the primary diagnosis code for HF (I50). From 2000 to 2013, the absolute number of HF-related hospitalizations increased by 65.4% (239 694–396 380 cases) and by 28.4% after age-standardization (261–335 per 100 000 population). Accordingly, the absolute number of HF-related hospital days increased by 22.1% (3.4–4.2 million hospital days), despite a marked decrease by 25.9% in average length of stay (14.3–10.6 days). With approximately 35 000 in-hospital deaths (˜45 per 100 000 population), the annual number of HF-related in-hospital deaths remained consistently high, and in-hospital mortality rate in HF patients constituted 9.3% in 2013. Patients aged >65 years were disproportionately affected. In 2013, HF was the leading cause of disease-related hospitalizations and in-hospital deaths, representing 2.1% and 8.8% of all cases, respectively.ConclusionIn Germany, the burden of HF is growing further, and the risk of death in HF remains high. These trends can only be partly attributed to demographic developments suggesting an exigent need for increased awareness and enhanced efforts in the prevention and management of HF.

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