December 2012 Clinical Laboratory News: News Brief

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December 2012: Volume 38, Number 12


Shifting CHF Patient Demographics

A new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that while the number and rate of congestive heart failure (CHF) hospitalizations remained fairly steady in the last decade, shifts in age and gender distribution signaled heart disease problems are becoming more prevalent in younger people and men.

Based on data from the National Center for Health Statistics’ (NCHS) National Hospital Discharge Survey, researchers found that approximately 1 million hospitalizations for CHF occurred in both 2000 and 2010, and that the rate of CHF hospitalization only decreased slightly from 35.5 per 10,000 population to 32.8.

Most hospitalizations were for those age 65 and older. The percentage of CHF hospitalizations for those younger than 65, however, increased from 23% to 29% over this time period. While the percentage also increased for those age 85 and older, it decreased for those in the 65–74 and 75–84 age brackets. Like the percentage of CHF hospitalizations, the rate also increased by 15% for the under 65 group, while it decreased by 19% for the over 65 group.

The CDC report also revealed that the increase in heart disease among males younger than 65 contributed the most to this overall increase among younger people. In 2000, the percentage and rate of CHF hospitalizations were higher for females than for males: 58% versus 42%, and 40.5 versus 30.4 per 10,000 population, respectively. But in 2010, these values converged, with equal proportions of both genders and similar rates of hospitalizations. This convergence was due to a 21% increase in CHF hospitalization rates for males <65 years old, and a 44%, 27%, and 17% decrease for females age 65–74, 75–84, and >85 years old, respectively, while no significant change occurred for males >65 years old and females <65 years old.

The researchers speculate that a combination of males’ higher health risk factors and lower utilization of healthcare services resulted in this negative trend.

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