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

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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.

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Journal of Cardiology