Heart failure survival has improved

January 1, 2003

Pharmaceutical Representative

Pharmaceutical Representative-01-01-2003,

Survival after a heart failure diagnosis has greatly improved over the past 50 years, according to a study published in The New England Journal of Medicine.

Survival after a heart failure diagnosis has greatly improved over the past 50 years, according to a study published in The New England Journal of Medicine (vol. 347, no. 18). The study, which analyzed data from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute's Framingham Heart Study, found that the risk of dying after being diagnosed with heart failure had dropped by about a third in men and women during that period.

The study found that new cases of heart failure had dropped by about a third for women during the same period. However, the number of new cases for men remained unchanged.

The study also found that:


•Â From 1950 to 1999, there were 1,075 cases of heart failure – about equally divided between men and women.


•Â In 1950 to 1969, 70% of men died within five years of being diagnosed with heart failure; in 1990 to 1999, that rate dropped to 59%. In 1950 to 1969, 57% of women died within five years of heart failure diagnosis; in 1990 to 1999, that rate dropped to 45%.


•Â For women, the number of new cases dropped by a third from 1950 to 1979, with no additional change from 1980 to 1999. For men, there was no significant change in the number of new cases from 1950 to 1999.


•Â Deaths from heart failure decreased, on average, by 12% per decade for women and men.

Framingham Heart Study Director Daniel Levy said he thought the availability of drugs and other treatments for heart failure was the key reason survival improved in the past 50 years, but cautioned that, since the findings are based on one, mostly white study, more research must be done to check trends in survival and the number of new cases in other racial and ethnic groups. PR

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