Abstract

Objective To estimate 1-year mortality and prognostic factors in unselected outpatients with heart failure, and to compare the observed mortality with the estimates of the primary care physicians.

Methods and Results Four hundred and eleven consecutive patients with heart failure New York Heart Association (NYHA) class II–IV (mean population age 75 years, 56% males) were enrolled in 71 primary care offices throughout Switzerland. During a mean follow-up period of 1·4 years, 68 patients had died. One-year total mortality was 12·6% compared to 4·3% in the underlying Swiss population (standardized mortality ratio 3·0). Among patients with heart failure NYHA II, III and IV, mortality was 7·1%, 15·0% and 28·0%, respectively. In multivariate Cox regression, statistically significant (P<0·05) predictors of mortality were NYHA class (NYHA III: risk ratio [RR]=1·6; NYHA IV: RR=2·2), recent hospital stay for heart disease (RR=2·3), creatinine>120μmol.l−1 (RR=1·8) systolic blood pressure<100mmHg (RR=2·4), heart rate>100min−1 (RR=2·7), age (per 10 years, RR=1·6) and female gender (RR=0·49). Among patients with reduced left ventricular ejection fraction, 1-year mortality was 14·3%, and predictors were similar except that female gender was no longer associated with reduced mortality. Primary care physicians significantly overestimated 1-year mortality (estimated mortality 25·9% vs observed mortality 12·6%,P =0·001).

Conclusions Unselected outpatients with heart failure have a poor prognosis, particularly those with advanced heart failure and a recent hospital stay for heart disease. Primary care physicians are aware of the high mortality of this growing patient population. Copyright 2002 The European Society of Cardiology. Published by Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved

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Correspondence: Dr Jörg Muntwyler, Department of Internal Medicine, Room C-Hor 47, University Hospital, Rämistrasse 100, 8091 Zürich, Switzerland.

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