Congestive heart failure (CHF) is a common disease requiring admission to hospital among elderly people and is associated with a high mortality rate. The objective of this study was to examine trends in CHF mortality and admissions to hospital in Montreal between 1990 and 1997 for individuals aged 65 years or more.
We obtained information about deaths from the Quebec Death Certificate Registry database and information about admissions to hospital from the Québec Med-Écho database. Patients with a primary diagnosis that was classified as ICD-9 code 428 were considered cases of CHF.
Although age-adjusted rates of mortality from CHF did not change significantly between 1990 and 1997, the annual rate of admission to hospital for CHF increased from 92 per 10 000 population in 1990/91 to 124 per 10 000 population in 1997/98 (p < 0.01). Deaths due to CHF, expressed as a proportion of all cardiovascular deaths, increased among women from 5.6% in 1990 to 6.2% in 1997 (p = 0.01). The rate of readmission for all causes following a first admission for CHF during that year rose over the study period from 16.6% to 22.0% within one month (p < 0.001) and from 46.7% to 49.4% within 6 months (p = 0.03). Conversely, mean annual length of stay per admission decreased from 16.4 days in 1990/91 to 12.2 days in 1997/98.
The increase in rates of admission to hospital for CHF and the stable rates of CHF mortality suggest that the management of CHF and its antecedents has improved in recent years.