Rheumatic heart disease and risk of incident heart failure among community-dwelling older adults: a prospective cohort study

Marjan Mujib, Ravi V Desai, Mustafa I Ahmed, Jason L Guichard, Margaret A Feller, O James Ekundayo, Prakash Deedwania, Mahboob Ali, Inmaculada B Aban, Thomas E Love, Michel White, Wilbert S Aronow, Shahbudin H Rahimtoola, Robert O Bonow, Ali Ahmed
Annals of Medicine 2012, 44 (3): 253-61

BACKGROUND: Little is known about the association of rheumatic heart disease (RHD) with incident heart failure (HF) among older adults.

DESIGN: Cardiovascular Health Study, a prospective cohort study.

METHODS: Of the 4,751 community-dwelling adults ≥ 65 years, free of prevalent HF at baseline, 140 had RHD, defined as self-reported physician-diagnosed RHD along with echocardiographic evidence of left-sided valvular disease. Propensity scores for RHD, estimated for each of the 4,751 participants, were used to assemble a cohort of 720, in which 124 and 596 participants with and without RHD, respectively, were balanced on 62 baseline characteristics.

RESULTS: Incident HF developed in 33% and 22% of matched participants with and without RHD, respectively, during 13 years of follow-up (hazard ratio when RHD was compared to no-RHD 1.60; 95% confidence interval 1.13-2.28; P = 0.008). Pre-match unadjusted, multivariable-adjusted, and propensity-adjusted hazard ratios (95% confidence intervals) for RHD-associated incident heart failure were 2.04 (1.54-2.71; P < 0.001), 1.32 (1.02-1.70; P = 0.034), and 1.55 (1.14-2.11; P = 0.005), respectively. RHD was not associated with all-cause mortality (HR 1.09; 95% CI 0.82-1.45; P = 0.568).

CONCLUSION: RHD is an independent risk factor for incident HF among community-dwelling older adults free of HF, but has no association with mortality.

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