'Dramatic Increase' Seen in U.S. Deaths From Heart Failure

patient on stretcher
patient on stretcher

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 30, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Heart failure deaths are reaching epidemic proportions among America's seniors, a new study finds.

About one in eight deaths from heart disease are from heart failure, and nine out of 10 are among those over 65 years of age, researchers report.

"We are now in the midst of a 'silver tsunami' of heart disease and heart failure," said senior study author Dr. Jamal Rana, chief of cardiology at Kaiser Permanente Oakland Medical Center, in California.

"This will require both innovation in clinical care for our patients and urgent policy initiatives at the health care systems level to be better prepared for its impact," Rana added in a Kaiser news release.

The report was published online Oct. 30 in JAMA Cardiology.

According to lead author Dr. Stephen Sidney, "The United States is now experiencing a dramatic increase in the number of older people dying from heart disease, and especially heart failure." Sidney is a senior research scientist with the Kaiser Permanente Northern California division of research.

Heart failure is a chronic, progressive disease where the heart muscle is weakened and can't pump blood efficiently, which increasingly reduces quality of life as patients decline.

For the study, Sidney and his colleagues used data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The investigators found that more than 647,000 Americans died from heart failure in 2017, which was about 51,000 more deaths from heart failure than in 2011.

The rate of deaths due to heart failure increased by 21%. When the researchers added the aging population as a factor, the rate of heart failure deaths jumped to 38%.

Sidney added that since the number of Americans over 65 increased by 10 million between 2011 and 2017, and is expected to grow by another 22 million by 2030, heart failure rates will likely only worsen.

More information

For more on heart failure, head to the American Heart Association.

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