Here is a study to sink your teeth into. The nationwide rate of being hospitalized for heart failure is on the decline. A major new study has found the positive health news, and it is well worth sharing.
In 2008, being hospitalized for heart failure was about 30% less likely than it was in 1998. The study, published in the prestigious “Journal of the American Medical Association,” also found that one-year death rates declined slightly during this period.
Researchers examined information on more than 55 million Medicare beneficiaries who went to the hospital over a 10-year period for heart failure. The researchers wanted to identify trends in the rate of heart failure hospitalization, and the death rate in the following year after leaving the hospital. The decline was 29.5% of the overall rate from 1998 to 2008.
When you track numbers over time, you can judge whether a disease is on the upswing or downswing. Heart failure is important, as it imposes one of the highest disease burdens of any medical condition. And as you age, the risk rises. So, heart failure ranks as the most frequent cause of hospitalization among older adults. It is also one of the most expensive to treat, as it requires a lot of resources. In 2010, the costs in the U.S. were estimated at nearly $40.0 billion.
It showed that the heart failure hospitalization rates vary significantly by state. The three states with the lowest rates across the nation were Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Wyoming. There were 16 states that had significantly higher rates of heart failure hospitalization than the average.
The researchers also found that risk-adjusted one-year mortality decreased from 31.7% to 29.6% between 1999 and 2008 for an overall decline of 6.6%.
Due to the decline in heart failure hospitalizations, there were 230,000 fewer cases in 2008 compared to a decade earlier. This is estimated to represent a savings of $4.1 billion in fee-for-service Medicare.
The main reason for the drop is that there are fewer patients being hospitalized with heart failure — a very positive development. One might conclude that people are paying more attention to diet and exercise than before, and people are being treated earlier and more successfully for heart issues.