New study takes first step in reducing global burden of heart failure

Farid Foroutan
Global variability in readmission rates for heart failure patients cannot be explained by health care spending, risk of mortality, or comorbidities, says study lead, Dr. Farid Foroutan, associate scientist at the Ted Rogers Computational Program​​ at UHN’s Peter Munk Cardiac Centre. (Photo: UHN)

Global rates of hospital readmission and mortality are high for heart failure (HF) patients. According to a new study from the Ted Rogers Centre for Heart Research at the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre at UHN, variability in readmission rates for this population cannot be explained by health care spending, risk of mortality, or comorbidities.

HF is a global pandemic affecting approximately 64 million people worldwide. It is the leading cause of hospitalization in the United States and Europe. The global cost of HF is about US$346 billion per year.

“Our goal was to better understand the factors associated with readmission for HF patients on a global scale,” says Dr. Farid Foroutan, study lead and associate scientist, Ted Rogers Centre Computational Program at Peter Munk Cardiac Centre, UHN. “Our study is the first to provide a global comparison of HF readmission rates.”

Based on a comprehensive analysis of 1.5 million HF patients, researchers found that on average, 13.2 per cent of HF patients were readmitted to hospital within 30 days of hospitalization, and 35.7 per cent were readmitted within one year.

The mortality rate was 7.6 per cent within 30 days of hospitalization, and 23.3 per cent within one year. The research was published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

“We found substantial global variability in readmission rates for hospitalized HF patients,” says Dr. Foroutan. “We also found significant variability across countries that may not be simply explained by a country’s health care spending, mortality rates, or HF comorbidities.”

Implications for improving heart failure patient care globally

Dr. Foroutan highlights the need for further studies that evaluate differences in the structure and processes of care delivery for HF interventions. Such studies are crucial in reducing the global burden of HF.

In the meantime, the comparative regional and national data presented by the research team holds the potential to inspire more immediate action.

“This comparison can assist policymakers in understanding the potential effects of interventions at a population level,” explains Dr. Douglas Lee, senior author of the study, Ted Rogers Chair in Heart Function Outcomes, and cardiologist, Peter Munk Cardiac Centre, UHN.

“The data may guide countries performing below global benchmarks, emphasizing the urgency of adopting new HF treatment strategies.”

The findings of this study carry significant implications for improving HF patient care worldwide. They have the potential to inform health care policies, shape clinical practices, and contribute to reducing the burden of heart failure on a global scale.

This study was supported by generous donors to UHN Foundation.

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