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Bulletin of the World Health Organization

Print version ISSN 0042-9686


NAJAFI, Farid; DOBSON, Annette J  and  JAMROZIK, Konrad. Is mortality from heart failure increasing in Australia? An analysis of official data on mortality for 1997-2003. Bull World Health Organ [online]. 2006, vol.84, n.9, pp. 722-728. ISSN 0042-9686.

OBJECTIVE: To assess whether trends in mortality from heart failure (HF) in Australia are due to a change in awareness of the condition or real changes in its epidemiology. METHODS: We carried out a retrospective analysis of official data on national mortality data between 1997 and 2003. A death was attributed to HF if the death certificate mentioned HF as either the underlying cause of death (UCD) or among the contributory factors. FINDINGS: From a total of 907 242 deaths, heart failure was coded as the UCD for 29 341 (3.2%) and was mentioned anywhere on the death certificate in 135 268 (14.9%). Between 1997 and 2003, there were decreases in the absolute numbers of deaths and in the age-specific and age-standardized mortality rates for HF either as UCD or mentioned anywhere for both sexes. HF was mentioned for 24.6% and 17.8% of deaths attributed to ischaemic heart disease and circulatory disease, respectively, and these proportions remained unchanged over the period of study. In addition, HF as UCD accounted for 8.3% of deaths attributed to circulatory disease and this did not change materially from 1997 to 2003. CONCLUSION: The decline in mortality from HF measured as either number of deaths or rate probably reflects a real change in the epidemiology of HF. Population-based studies are required to determine accurately the contributions of changes in incidence, survival and demographic factors to the evolving epidemiology of HF.

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