Current and projected burden of heart failure in the Australian adult population: A substantive but still ill-defined major health issue

Yih Kai Chan, Camilla Tuttle, Jocasta Ball, Tiew Hwa Katherine Teng, Yasmin Ahamed, Melinda Jane Carrington, Simon Stewart

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37 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Comprehensive epidemiological data to describe the burden of heart failure (HF) in Australia remain lacking despite its importance as a major health issue. Herewith, we estimate the current and future burden of HF in Australia using best available data. Methods: Australian-specific and the most congruent international epidemiological and health utilisation data were applied to the Australian population (adults aged ≥ 45 years, 8.9 of 22.7 million total population in 2014) on an age and sex-specific basis. We estimated the current incident and prevalent cases of clinically overt/symptomatic HF (predominately those with reduced ejection fraction), hospital activity (diagnosis of HF as a primary or secondary reason for admission) and health care costs in 2014 and future prevalence and burden of HF projected to 2030. Results: We estimated that over 61,000 (6.9 per 1000 person-years) adult Australians aged ≥ 45 years (58 % women) are diagnosed with HF with clinically overt signs and symptoms every year. On a conservative basis, 480,000 (6.3 %, 95 % CI 2.6 to 10.0 %) Australians (66 % men) are now affected by the syndrome with > 150,000 hospitalisations in excess of 1 million days in hospital per annum. The annual cost of managing HF in the community is approximately $900 million and nearly $2.7 billion ($1.5 versus $1.2 billion, men versus women) when considering the additional cost of in-patient care. We predict that the prevalence and future burden of HF will continue to increase over the next 10-15 years to nearly 750,000 people with an estimated annual health care cost of $3.8 billion. Conclusions: Australia is not immune to the growing magnitude and implications of a sustained epidemic of HF in an ageing population. However, its public health and economic burden will remain ill-defined until more definitive Australian-specific data are generated.

Original languageEnglish
Article number501
JournalBMC Health Services Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 21 Sep 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Economic burden
  • Heart failure
  • Incidence
  • Prevalence


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