Heart failure patients surviving longer

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Mortality rates have declined for patients with advanced heart failure during the past two decades, according to new research from UCLA.

Still, a third of patients do not survive more than three years after being diagnosed with advanced heart failure, investigators said. 

The study examined 2,500 adults who were sent to UCLA, which is considered a top center for heart failure management and heart transplants. All patients had heart failure and weak heart muscles. Patients were divided into three six-year eras starting in 1993, with researchers examining each of the groups at one- , two- and three-year follow-up points after diagnosis.

In later years, more patients received medications such as beta-blockers or treatment such as implantable cardioverter defibrillators, the researchers said. Beta-blocker usage, for example, was up 72% from 2005-2010, compared to the first era. 

As a result, survival is much more likely in today's era, with patient mortality increasing from 11.6% in the first era to 19.9% in the third. 

The study was partially supported by the National Institutes of Health. Findings were in May's Circulation.