The prevalence of heart failure in the US is between 1.5% and 1.9%. From 2013 to 2016, an estimated 6.2 million adults ≥20 years of age had heart failure in the US. In 2014 there were 1 million new cases in patients >55 years of age. Heart failure is the primary reason for 12 to 15 million office visits and 6.5 million hospital-days each year. Recurrent hospitalization is a major quality of life and cost issue: for example, from 1990 to 1999, the annual number of hospitalizations 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. Patients are particularly prone to readmission, with reported rates as high as 50% within 6 months of discharge.
Worldwide the absolute numbers of people living with heart failure are increasing. The rising prevalence of heart failure is not necessarily linked with an increase in heart failure incidence, as the incidence appears to be stable or decreasing in some countries, in part 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 recognized "aging of the population" contributes to its increasing prevalence.
The prevalence of heart failure increases with increasing age. Among patients ages 40 to 59 years the prevalence of heart failure is about 1.2% in males and 1.7% in females, whereas among patients ages ≥80 years the prevalence of heart failure is about 12.8% in males and 12.0% in females.
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