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Eur Heart J. 1996 Sep;17(9):1390-403.

Mode of death in chronic heart failure. A request and proposition for more accurate classification.

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Department of Cardiology, Hammersmith Hospital, London, UK.


The proportion of patients reported to die suddenly or from progressive circulatory failure is not consistent among studies of heart failure. Lack of an adequate or consistent classification of how patients die contributes to the current confusion over the mode of death in heart failure. Defining how patients with heart failure die could be important in developing strategies to reduce the continuing high mortality associated with this condition. We identified 27 studies that reported 50 or more deaths among patients with heart failure to ascertain how death was classified. Definitions of sudden death appeared heterogeneous and the majority of studies failed to publish or make reference to how circulatory failure was defined. A framework for the classification of the mode of death has been developed in which clear separation of the activity and place at the time of death, cause of death, mode of death, and events prior to death is made (ACME: Activity, Cause, Mode and Event). This mode of classifying death has been successfully piloted in two mortality studies; AIRE and NETWORK. Classifying mortality in this way will help identify pathways leading to death and hence suggest therapies and strategies to reduce mortality in patients with heart failure, a group of patients whose prognosis remains poor.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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