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Vascular Disease and Risk Stratification for Ischemic Stroke and All-Cause Death in Heart Failure Patients without Diagnosed Atrial Fibrillation: A Nationwide Cohort Study

Line Melgaard, Anders Gorst-Rasmussen, Lars Hvilsted Rasmussen, Gregory Y H Lip, Torben Bjerregaard Larsen
PloS One 2016, 11 (3): e0152269

BACKGROUND: Stroke and mortality risk among heart failure patients previously diagnosed with different manifestations of vascular disease is poorly described. We conducted an observational study to evaluate the stroke and mortality risk among heart failure patients without diagnosed atrial fibrillation and with peripheral artery disease (PAD) or prior myocardial infarction (MI).

METHODS: Population-based cohort study of patients diagnosed with incident heart failure during 2000-2012 and without atrial fibrillation, identified by record linkage between nationwide registries in Denmark. Hazard rate ratios of ischemic stroke and all-cause death after 1 year of follow-up were used to compare patients with either: a PAD diagnosis; a prior MI diagnosis; or no vascular disease.

RESULTS: 39,357 heart failure patients were included. When compared to heart failure patients with no vascular disease, PAD was associated with a higher 1-year rate of ischemic stroke (adjusted hazard rate ratio [HR]: 1.34, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.08-1.65) and all-cause death (adjusted HR: 1.47, 95% CI: 1.35-1.59), whereas prior MI was not (adjusted HR: 1.00, 95% CI: 0.86-1.15 and 0.94, 95% CI: 0.89-1.00, for ischemic stroke and all-cause death, respectively). When comparing patients with PAD to patients with prior MI, PAD was associated with a higher rate of both outcomes.

CONCLUSIONS: Among incident heart failure patients without diagnosed atrial fibrillation, a previous diagnosis of PAD was associated with a significantly higher rate of the ischemic stroke and all-cause death compared to patients with no vascular disease or prior MI. Prevention strategies may be particularly relevant among HF patients with PAD.


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