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US Heart Failure admissions drop

Is this a welcome trend in Heart Failure treatment through adveances in medicine and both management and self management of the condition?

Hospital admissions for elderly US patients with heart failure fell by nearly 30% over a decade, an analysis of federal Medicare data shows, a surprising finding that offers fresh evidence of progress in the battle against cardiovascular disease.

The report, being published on Wednesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association, is the first to document a decline in admissions in the US for the condition, an enormously costly and debilitating problem and the most common reason for hospitalization among Medicare beneficiaries.

The finding is based on data from more than 55 million patients in Medicare’s conventional fee-for-service program who were hospitalized for heart failure between 1999 and 2008. Researchers estimated there were 229,000 fewer admissions for heart failure in 2008 than would have been expected had the rate of admissions remained at 1999 levels. As a result, the Medicare program saved $4.1 billion in hospital costs related to heart failure.

Coming as the US population ages and as obesity and diabetes—both risk factors for heart disease—are enormous public-health concerns, were a welcome surprise to some heart experts. Many attributed the improvements to better preventive measures and disease management, as well as a reduction in elderly patients’ rates of heart attack—a common cause of heart failure.

About 5.8 million Americans are diagnosed with heart failure, according to the American Heart Association, which estimates that total costs for treating patients, including associated indirect costs, were $39.2 billion in 2010.


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