Understanding the Epidemic of Heart Failure: Past, Present, and Future

Shannon M. Dunlay, Véronique L. Roger

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

93 Scopus citations


Heart failure (HF) is a major public health problem affecting more than five million Americans and more than 23 million patients worldwide. The epidemiology of HF is evolving. Data suggests that the incidence of HF peaked in the mid-1990s and has since declined. Survival after HF diagnosis has improved, leading to an increase in prevalence. The case mix is also changing, as a rising proportion of patients with HF have preserved ejection fraction and multimorbidity is increasingly common. After diagnosis, HF can have a profound associated morbidity. Hospitalizations in HF remain both frequent and costly, though they may be declining as a result of preventive efforts. The need for skilled nursing facility care in HF has risen. The role of palliative medicine in the care of patients with advanced HF is evolving as we learn how to best care for this population with a large symptom burden.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)404-415
Number of pages12
JournalCurrent heart failure reports
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2014


  • Epidemiology
  • Heart failure
  • Incidence
  • Mortality
  • Prevalence
  • Readmission

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)


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