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Diabetes Care. 2004 Mar;27(3):699-703.

Heart failure prevalence, incidence, and mortality in the elderly with diabetes.

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Department of Public Health Science, Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, North Carolina, USA.



The goal of this study was to determine heart failure prevalence and incidence rates, subsequent mortality, and risk factors for heart failure among older populations in Medicare with diabetes.


We used a national 5% sample of Medicare claims from 1994 to 1999 to perform a population-based, nonconcurrent cohort study in 151,738 beneficiaries with diabetes who were age > or =65 years, not in managed care, and were alive on 1 January 1995. Prevalent heart failure was defined as a diagnosis of heart failure in 1994; incident heart failure was defined as a new diagnosis in 1995-1999 among those without prevalent heart failure. Mortality was assessed through 31 December 1999.


Heart failure was prevalent in 22.3% in 1994. Among individuals without heart failure in 1994, the heart failure incidence rate was 12.6 per 100 person-years (95% CI 12.5-12.7 per 100 person-years). Incidence was similar by sex and race and increased significantly with age and diabetes-related comorbidities. The adjusted hazard of incident heart failure increased for individuals with the following: metabolic complications of diabetes (a proxy for poor control and/or severity) (hazards ratio 1.23, 95% CI 1.18-1.29), ischemic heart disease (1.74, 1.70-1.79), nephropathy (1.55, 1.45-1.67), and peripheral vascular disease (1.35, 1.31-1.39). Over 60 months, incident heart failure among older adults with diabetes was associated with high mortality-32.7 per 100 person-years compared with 3.7 per 100 person-years among those with diabetes who remained heart failure free.


These data demonstrate alarmingly high prevalence, incidence, and mortality for heart failure in individuals with diabetes. Prevention of heart failure should be a research and clinical priority.

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