Eur J Clin Invest 2011; 41 (6): 597–604
Background This study compared the comorbidities, drugs, expenses and in-hospital mortality between younger and elderly patients hospitalized with heart failure.
Methods A random sample of 1 000 000 insurants of the National Health Insurance program of Taiwan in 2005 was used. Comparisons were made between younger (20–64 years) and elderly (≥ 65 years) patients.
Results Heart failure hospitalization was identified in 2692 patients. Ageing, female sex, diabetes, hypertension, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, nephropathy, infection and ischaemic heart disease were significantly associated with heart failure hospitalization. The incidence was 88 and 2181 per 100 000 population, in younger and elderly people, respectively. The most common comorbidity in the elderly was hypertension (38·3%), followed by infection (32·0%) and ischaemic heart disease (31·9%). In younger patients, hypertension (41·3%), diabetes (35·5%) and ischaemic heart disease (29·8%) were the most common comorbidity. Diuretics were the most common drugs for both the younger (74·4%) and the elderly (76·9%) patients, followed by angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors and/or angiotensin receptor blockers and aspirin. The length of stay was longer (17·1 vs. 11·0 days, P < 0·0001), total expense higher (105 290·5 vs. 85 473·6 New Taiwan Dollars, P < 0·05) and in-hospital mortality higher (4·2% vs. 2·7%, P = 0·0823) in the elderly. Length of stay, nephropathy, infection, ischaemic heart disease and peripheral arterial disease were associated with expenses. In-hospital mortality was associated with age, length of stay, cancer, infection and peripheral arterial disease.
Conclusions The elderly have a 25-fold higher risk of heart failure hospitalization, longer length of in-hospital stay, higher total medical expense and higher in-hospital mortality.