Hospitalization rates for patients with heart failure fell significantly from 1998 to 2008, saving billions in healthcare costs, according to a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Heart failure hospitalization rates fall, JAMA study says
Using fee-for-service data on more than 55 million Medicare beneficiaries, researchers found a 29.5% drop in the risk-adjusted heart failure hospitalization rate over the 10-year period.
That steep decline could be due to a number of factors, including improved control of hypertension, a cause of heart failure; decreases in the rates of ischemic heart disease; and growing use of outpatient management of heart failure, according to the study
“With a mean (heart failure) hospitalization cost of $18,000 in 2008, this decline represents a savings of $4.1 billion in fee-for-service Medicare,” the authors said.
The drop in heart failure hospitalizations was smallest among black men, whose rates decreased by 22.7%. State-by-state hospitalization rates also varied substantially, with some states seeing even bigger declines than the national figure.
The authors also analyzed patients' one-year mortality rates after hospitalization, which fell only slightly from 31.7% in 2009 to 29.6% in 2008.
“Although any improvements in heart failure survival are to be welcomed, reductions in one-year mortality over the past decade were modest on an absolute scale,” they said.
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