Objective: To investigate the secular trend in survival after a new diagnosis of heart failure in the UK population.
Design and Setting: Comparison of all-cause mortality in the 6 months after diagnosis of heart failure in population-based studies in the south east of England in 2004–5 (Hillingdon–Hastings Study) and 1995–7 (Hillingdon–Bromley Studies).
Participants: 396 patients in the 2004–5 cohort and 552 patients in the 1995–7 cohort with incident (new) heart failure.
Main Outcome Measures: All-cause mortality.
Results: All-cause mortality rates were 6% (95% CI 3% to 8%) at 1 month, 11% (8% to 14%) at 3 months and 14% (11% to 18%) at 6 months in the 2004–5 cohort compared with 16% (13% to 20%), 22% (19% to 25%) and 26% (22% to 29%), respectively, in the 1995–7 cohort (difference between the two cohorts, p<0.001). The difference in survival was not explained by any difference in the demographics or severity of heart failure at presentation. There was a difference at baseline and thereafter in the use of neurohormonal antagonists (β-blockers and angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors).
Conclusions: Although early mortality remains high among patients with newly diagnosed heart failure in the UK general population, there is strong evidence of a marked improvement in survival from 1995–7 to 2004–5, perhaps partly explained by an increased usage of neurohormonal antagonists.
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