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The Capital Region of Denmark - a part of Copenhagen University Hospital
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Burden and Causes of Hospital Admissions in Heart Failure During the Last Year of Life

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Objectives: This study aimed to evaluate the incidence and causes of hospitalization in the year preceding death of patients with heart failure (HF). Background: Hospitalizations in HF are common, especially in the last period of the lives of patients with HF, but little is known about hospitalization burden and causes during this phase of the disease. Methods: From Danish nationwide registries, we identified patients who died in the period 2001–2016 after having experienced HF for at least 1 year, and examined hospitalizations during the last year of life in age- and sex-stratified analyses. Results: We included 32,157 patients. Median age at time of death was 81 years; 39% were women. A total of 26,561 (84%) patients were hospitalized at least once during the last year of life. The patients experienced a median of 2 (1 to 3) hospitalizations and spent 14 (3 to 31) days in the hospital. Of all hospitalizations (n = 80,362), 9,644 (12%) were due to HF, 14,738 (18%) due to other cardiovascular (CV) causes, and 51,696 (64%) due to non-CV causes (p < 0.001). The frequency of hospitalizations increased toward death, but the domination of non-CV causes remained consistent throughout the year, regardless of age and sex. If we included diagnoses covering renal insufficiency in the definition of HF hospitalizations, non-CV hospitalizations remained dominant (58%). Conclusions: During the last year alive, patients with HF were more often hospitalized due to non-CV causes rather than HF. These findings warrant more focus on a multidisciplinary approach toward end-of-life care in patients with HF.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJACC. Heart failure
Volume7
Issue number7
Pages (from-to)561-570
Number of pages10
ISSN2213-1779
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2019

    Research areas

  • comorbidity, elderly, heart failure, hospital hospitalization, readmission

ID: 57549107