The prevalence of CHF in the western world has been estimated at 1% to 2%, and the incidence is thought to approach 5 to 10 per 1000 people per year.[4] In the UK, CHF is thought to account for a total of 1 million inpatient bed days and 5% of all emergency admissions. These figures are projected to rise by as much as 50% in the next 25 years.[5] A major heart study conducted in Australia in 2006 found that 6.3% of the population of Canberra had overt symptomatic heart failure and there was an even higher proportion of people with subclinical heart failure.[6]

Heart failure is a global disease. The prevalence of heart disease is about 1.3% in China, 6.7% in Malaysia, 1.0% in Japan, 4.5% in Singapore, 0.12% to 0.44% in India, 1.0% in South America, and 1.0% to 2.0% in Australia.[7]

From 2011 to 2014, an estimated 6.5 million adults ≥20 years of age had heart failure in the US.[8] In 2014 there were 1 million new cases in patients >55 years of age.[8] Heart failure is the primary reason for 12 to 15 million clinic visits and 6.5 million hospital-days each year.[9][10] Recurrent hospitalisation is a major quality of life and cost issue: for example, from 1990 to 1999, the annual number of hospitalisations increased from approximately 810,000 to over 1 million for primary diagnosis and from 2.4 million to 3.6 million for primary or secondary diagnosis.[11] Patients are particularly prone to re-admission, with reported rates as high as 50% within 6 months of discharge. In 2001, nearly 53,000 patients died of heart failure as a primary cause. The number of deaths is increasing steadily despite advances in treatment, in part because of increasing numbers of patients with heart failure, due to better treatment and reduced mortality of patients with acute myocardial infarctions earlier in life. Heart failure is primarily a condition of older people, and thus the widely recognised 'ageing of the population' also contributes to its increasing incidence.

The prevalence of heart failure increases with increasing age. In the US, among patients aged 40 to 59 years the prevalence of heart failure is about 1.4% in males and 1.9% in females, whereas among patients aged >80 years the prevalence of heart failure is about 14.1% in males and 13.4% in females.[8] The total prevalence of heart failure in the US is between 1.5% and 1.9%.[7]

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