Burden of heart failure in primary healthcare

Impacto de la insuficiencia cardíaca en la atención primaria


To determine the epidemiology of heart failure registered in primary healthcare clinical records in Catalunya, Spain, between 2010 and 2014, focusing on incidence, mortality, and resource utilization.


Retrospective observational cohort study.


Study was carried out in primary care setting.

Participants and interventions

Patients registered as presenting a new heart failure diagnosis. The inclusion period ran from 1st January 2010 to 31st December 2013, but patients were followed until 31st December 2013 in order to analyze mortality.

Main measures

Information came from electronic medical records.


A total of 64441 patients were registered with a new diagnosis of heart failure (2.76 new cases per 1000 persons-year). Among them, 85.8% were ≥65 years. The number of cases/1000 persons-year was higher in men in all age groups. Incidence ranged from 0.04 in women <45 years to 27.61 in the oldest group, and from 0.08 in men <45 years to 28.52 in the oldest group. Mortality occurred in 16305 (25.3%) patients. Primary healthcare resource utilization increased after the occurrence of heart failure, especially the number of visits made by nurses to the patients’ homes.


Heart failure incidence increases with age, is greater in men, and remains stable. Mortality continues to be high in newly diagnosed patients in spite of the current improvements in treatment. Home visits represent the greatest cost for the management of this disease in primary care setting.

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