Contrary to popular practice, a measure of the heart's pumping function known as "left ventricular ejection fraction" is not associated with the long-term outcomes of hospitalized heart failure patients, according to new research presented Sunday at the American Heart Association (AHA) Scientific Sessions 2017 in Anaheim, California.
According to the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)-led study, published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, better treatments for heart failure and new ways of predicting patient outcomes are needed.
Hospitalized heart failure patients in all age groups within the study and with all levels of ejection fraction had significantly lower rates of survival after five years and a higher risk of re-hospitalization than people in the United States without heart failure.
Heart failure happens when the heart cannot pump enough blood and oxygen to support other organs in your body. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 5.7 million adults in the United States have heart failure. Heart failure costs the nation an estimated 30.7 billion U.S. dollars each year.
This is the first study in U.S. to use national data to specifically categorize heart failure by three distinct ejection fraction subgroups. The data are from the AHA's Get With The Guidelines-Heart Failure program and the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and included 39,982 patients from 254 hospitals admitted for heart failure from 2005 to 2009. The patients within the study were categorized into three distinct ejection fraction subgroups: normal, borderline and reduced.
The findings stress the serious nature of a diagnosis of heart failure and the long-term risk associated with it, regardless of the heart's estimated pump function. Cardiologists need to find new strategies to better treat patients with heart failure, and prevent patients from developing heart failure in the first place, researchers conclude.
The next step will look at the specific causes of death for the different subgroups and determine potential treatment strategies to improve their outcomes, according to a news release.
AHA's Scientific Sessions, a premier global exchange of the latest advances in cardiovascular science for researchers and clinicians, attracts nearly 18,000 attendees, with a global presence from more than 100 countries.