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Revista Española de Cardiología (English Edition) Revista Española de Cardiología (English Edition)
Rev Esp Cardiol. 2017;70:720-6 - Vol. 70 Num.09 DOI: 10.1016/j.rec.2017.03.001

Trends and Characteristics of Hospitalization for Heart Failure in a Population Setting From 2003 to 2013

María Lucía Fernández Gassó a, Lauro Hernando-Arizaleta b, Joaquín A. Palomar-Rodríguez b, Federico Soria-Arcos a, Domingo A. Pascual-Figal c,

a Servicio de Cardiología, Hospital General Universitario Santa Lucía, Cartagena, Murcia, Spain
b Servicio de Planificación y Financiación Sanitaria, Consejería de Sanidad, Murcia, Spain
c Servicio de Cardiología, Hospital Universitario Virgen de la Arrixaca, Facultad de Medicina, Universidad de Murcia, El Palmar, Murcia, Spain


Heart failure. Hospitalization. Epidemiology.


Introduction and objectives

Population-based studies in other countries have reported a reduction of standardized rates of hospitalization for heart failure (HF) but data from a well-defined population are lacking in Spain.


All hospitalizations with a principal diagnosis of HF between 2003 and 2013 were obtained from the Minimum Basic Data Set, which includes all hospitals in the Region of Murcia. Health care episodes were identified by the individual health card (27 158 episodes). For each year, we studied the following parameters: crude, age-standardized and sex-standardized hospitalization rates for HF, length of stay, mortality, clinical variables, and the Elixhauser index. Time trends were analyzed using joinpoint regression.


Hospitalization rates increased by 76.7%, from 1.28‰ to 2.26‰ (crude) and 1.06‰ to 1.77‰ (standardized); the mean annual percentage of change (APC) was 8.2% until 2007 and was subsequently 1.9% (P < .05). Rates doubled in persons ≥ 75 years, reaching 19.9‰ in those aged 75 to 84 years (APC, 5.4%) and 32.5‰ in those aged ≥ 85 years (APC, 11.7%) but were unchanged in persons aged < 75 years. The hospitalization rate was 36% higher in women than in men but was equal after age-standardization and showed no temporal change. The Elixhauser comorbidity index increased by almost 1 point during the study period and episodes > 6 points increased by 2-fold. Length of stay and mortality were unchanged during the study period.


Between 2003 and 2013, there was a sustained increase in standardized rates of hospitalization for HF, which affected persons ≥ 75 years and was associated with a rise in comorbidity. There is a need for strategies focused on this population.

1885-5857/© 2017 Sociedad Española de Cardiología. Published by Elsevier España, S.L.U. All rights reserved