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Am J Epidemiol. 2004 Oct 1;160(7):628-35.

Survival associated with two sets of diagnostic criteria for congestive heart failure.

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  • 1Department of Epidemiology, Cardiovascular Health Research Unit, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA. ginas@u.washington.edu


Congestive heart failure (CHF) definitions vary across epidemiologic studies. The Framingham Heart Study criteria include CHF signs and symptoms assessed by a physician panel. In the Cardiovascular Health Study, a committee of physicians adjudicated CHF diagnoses, confirmed by signs, symptoms, clinical tests, and/or medical therapy. The authors used data from the Cardiovascular Health Study, a population-based cohort study of 5,888 elderly US adults, to compare CHF incidence and survival patterns following onset of CHF as defined by Framingham and/or Cardiovascular Health Study criteria. They constructed an inception cohort of nonfatal, hospitalized CHF patients. Of 875 participants who had qualifying CHF hospitalizations between 1989 and 2000, 54% experienced a first CHF event that fulfilled both sets of diagnostic criteria (concordant), 31% fulfilled only the Framingham criteria (Framingham only), and 15% fulfilled only the Cardiovascular Health Study criteria (Cardiovascular Health Study only). No significant survival difference was found between the Framingham-only group (hazard ratio = 0.87, 95% confidence interval: 0.71, 1.07) or the Cardiovascular Health Study-only group (hazard ratio = 0.89, 95% confidence interval: 0.68, 1.15) and the concordant group (referent). Compared with Cardiovascular Health Study central adjudication, Framingham criteria for CHF identified a larger group of participants with incident CHF, but all-cause mortality rates were similar across these diagnostic classifications.

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