Who are they? Patients with heart failure in American skilled nursing facilities

Document Type


Date of Original Version



Background: Heart failure (HF) is common among skilled nursing facility (SNF) residents, yet patients with HF in the SNF setting have not been well described. Methods: Using Minimum Data Set 3.0 cross-linked to Medicare data (2011–2012), we studied 150,959 HF patients admitted to 13,858 SNFs throughout the USA. ICD-9 codes were used to differentiate patients with HF with preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF), reduced ejection fraction (HFrEF), or unspecified HF. Results: The median age of the study population was 82 years, 68% were women, 34% had HFpEF, and 27% had HFrEF. HFpEF patients were older than those with HFrEF. Moderate/severe physical limitations (82%) and cognitive impairment (37%) were common, regardless of HF type. The burden and pattern of common comorbidities, with the exception of coronary heart disease, were similar among all groups, with a median of five comorbidities. One half of patients with HF had been prescribed angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors/angiotensin receptor blockers, and 39% evidence-based β-blockers. Conclusions: SNF residents with HF are old and suffer from significant physical limitations and cognitive impairment and a high degree of comorbidity. These patients differ substantially from HF patients enrolled in randomized clinical trials and that might explain divergence from treatment guidelines.

Publication Title, e.g., Journal

Journal of Cardiology