Younger men make up greater share of CHF admissions

More younger men in the U.S. are being admitted to hospitals for congestive heart failure (CHF), according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). While the number of admissions remained constant between 2000 and 2010, the proportion of men under age 65 hospitalized for CHF increased by 21 percent.

Hypertension, diabetes or coronary heart disease can contribute to the development of CHF. Early interventions that successfully control these risk factors help prevent CHF and consequences such as hospitalizations.

“Numerous disease management, coordination of care and other programs have been in place to decrease preventable or avoidable hospitalizations by improving access to care and the quality of this care,” wrote authors of the October report on CHF trends. “One measure of the success of these efforts would be if CHF hospitalization rates declined from 2000 to 2010.”   

Based on the analysis of National Hospital Discharge Survey data, the healthcare system may be missing the mark with some patient populations.

CHF hospitalizations totaled approximately 1 million in both 2000 and 2010. Patients older than 65 years accounted for most of those admissions in both periods. While still in the minority, younger patients took up a larger share of the total, growing from 23 percent in 2000 to 29 percent in 2010. The rate of CHF hospitalizations of patients under 65 years increased by 15 percent over the decade while the rate for elderly patients decreased by 19 percent.

The trends proved more favorable for women than for men. The proportion of women hospitalized for CHF was 58 percent in 2000, but by 2010 men and women were admitted in equal proportions. The CHF hospitalization rate between 2000 and 2010 jumped by 21 percent for men under 65 and by 8 percent for women under 65.

Older women saw significant improvements in hospitalization rates, with decreases of 44 percent, 27 percent and 17 percent, respectively, for those between 65 and 74 years, 75 and 84 years and 85 years and older. Elderly men between 65 and 84 years showed comparatively modest improvements.

“Males’ higher health risk factors and lower utilization of health care services, including preventive care, could mean that conditions known to cause CHF—such as diabetes, hypertension and coronary artery disease—were more often left undiagnosed and untreated for males compared with females,” the authors suggested. “These conditions may have then progressed to the point where the CHF was serious enough to warrant hospitalization, even to a small but increasing extent, before age 65.”