Socioeconomic status, treatment, and outcomes among elderly patients hospitalized with heart failure: findings from the National Heart Failure Project

Saif S Rathore, Frederick A Masoudi, Yongfei Wang, Jeptha P Curtis, JoAnne M Foody, Edward P Havranek, Harlan M Krumholz
American Heart Journal 2006, 152 (2): 371-8

BACKGROUND: Prior studies have reported conflicting findings concerning the association of socioeconomic status (SES), treatment, and outcomes in patients hospitalized with heart failure (HF).

METHODS: We conducted a retrospective analysis of medical record data from a national sample of Medicare beneficiaries hospitalized with HF between March 1998 and April 1999 (n = 25,086) to assess the association of patient SES, treatment, and outcomes. Patients' SES was designated as lower, lower-middle, higher-middle, and higher using residential ZIP code characteristics. Patients were evaluated for left ventricular systolic function assessment, prescription of angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors at discharge, readmission within 1 year of discharge, and mortality within 30 days and 1 year of admission. Hierarchical logistic regression models were used to assess the association of SES, quality of care, and outcomes adjusting for patient, physician, and hospital characteristics.

RESULTS: Lower SES patients (relative risk [RR] 0.92, 95% CI 0.87-0.96) were modestly less likely to have had a left ventricular systolic function assessment, but had a similar adjusted likelihood of being prescribed angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors (RR 1.03, 95% CI 0.93-1.11) compared with higher SES patients after multivariable adjustment. Socioeconomic status was not associated with 30-day mortality after multivariable adjustment, but lower SES patients had a higher risk of 1-year mortality (RR 1.10, 95% CI 1.02-1.19) and readmission within 1 year of discharge (RR 1.08, 95% CI 1.03-1.12) compared with higher SES patients.

CONCLUSIONS: Socioeconomic status in patients hospitalized with HF was not strongly associated with quality of care or 30-day mortality. However, the increased risk of 1-year mortality and readmission among patients of lower SES suggest SES may influence outcomes after hospitalization for HF.

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