Ageing and comorbidities are increasing frailty/complexity of heart failure (HF) patients globally. We assessed evolving trends over two decades according to patients’ age and time of recruitment in a nationwide cardiology setting in Italy.
Chronic HF outpatients recruited between 1999 and 2018 (N = 14,823) were divided into 3 cohorts: 1999-2005 (N = 5404); 2006-2011 (N = 3971); 2012-2018 (N = 5448). We analyzed temporal changes in clinical characteristics, therapies, and outcome (1-year all-cause mortality/cardiovascular hospitalization), overall and by age group: <65 (n = 5465); 65-79 (n = 6838); ≥80 (n = 2520) years old. Across enrolment epochs, comorbidities (atrial fibrillation, hypertension, obesity) increased by both epoch/age groups (p < 0.001), whereas the prevalence of ischemic etiology declined among patients ≥65 years (p = 0.05). Accordingly, the preserved LVEF phenotype (HFpEF) increased in all age categories (p < 0.001) over time. Moreover, the use of betablockers, mineralocorticoid-receptor antagonists and loop-diuretics rose by enrolment epoch in all age groups (p < 0.05). In parallel with these epidemiologic/treatment changes, age-adjusted survival free from cardiovascular hospitalization improved over time (p < 0.0001). However, divergent trends in the end-point components were apparent according to age groups: mortality decreased in patients<80 years, although hospitalizations remained stable in the youngest group, while subjects ≥65 years were less likely to be admitted for cardiovascular causes (all p < 0.005).
Over two decades in a cardiology outpatient setting, the prevalence of comorbid HFpEF increased in all age categories. Mortality improved among patients<80 years and cardiovascular hospitalizations decreased in patients≥65 years. These findings point to the value of cardiologist' input in the management of adult chronic HF patients at all ages.

Copyright © 2021 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.