Date: 14 February 2019
Survival after a diagnosis of heart failure in the United Kingdom has shown only modest improvement in the 21st century and lags behind other serious conditions, according to new research supported by the NIHR.
The research, funded by the NIHR Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care Oxford, also showed that survival is worse for people requiring admission to hospital around the time of diagnosis, and for those in the most deprived groups.
The researchers point out that, unlike cancer, heart failure has not been a priority for government policy or funding. They say their results “should alert policy makers to the need for further investment in heart failure services.”
Heart failure is an increasingly common condition that affects over 920,000 people in the UK, and globally is estimated to cost £82.4bn each year.
Reliable survival estimates are important for any long term condition, yet studies exploring survival trends for heart failure over time are inconsistent.
So the research team, led by Dr Clare Taylor and Professor Richard Hobbs at the Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences in Oxford, set out to report short and long term survival rates of people with heart failure, and to examine trends over time by year of diagnosis, hospital admission around the time of diagnosis, and socioeconomic group.
Their research, published in the British Medical Journal, showed that one year survival rates from heart failure increased by 6.6% between 2000 and 2016 (from 74.2% to 80.8%), and five year survival rates increased by 7.2% (from 41.0% in 2000 to 48.2% in 2012).
Improvement in survival was on average 2.4 years greater for patients not requiring admission to hospital around the time of diagnosis (5.3 v 2.9 years), which the researchers say probably relates to a more advanced stage of disease.
The lack of substantial progress in improving heart failure survival rates “should alert policy makers to the need for further investment in heart failure services,” say the researchers.
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