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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

Northwestern: Study – Heart Failure Deaths Rising in Younger Adults

Death rates due to heart failure are now increasing, and this increase is most prominent among younger adults under 65, considered premature death, reports a new Northwestern Medicine study.

The increase in premature death from heart failure was highest among black men under age 65.

This study is showing for the first time that death rates due to heart failure have been increasing since 2012. The rise in deaths comes despite significant advances in medical and surgical treatments for heart failure in the past decade.

The study was published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

“The success of the last three decades in improving heart failure death rates is now being reversed, and it is likely due to the obesity and diabetes epidemics,” said Dr. Sadiya Khan, assistant professor of medicine in the Division of Cardiology and a Northwestern Medicine cardiologist. “We focused on patients with heart failure because they have the highest mortality related to cardiovascular death. They have a prognosis similar to metastatic lung cancer.”

An estimated 6 million adults in the U.S. have heart failure. It’s the number one reason older adults are admitted to the hospital, Dr. Khan said.

“Given the aging population and the obesity and diabetes epidemics, which are major risk factors for heart failure, it is likely that this trend will continue to worsen,” she said.

Recent data that show the average life expectancy in the U.S. also is declining, which compounds Dr. Khan’s concern that cardiovascular death related to heart failure may be a significant contributor to this change.

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