Hot summers and heart failure: Seasonal variations in morbidity and mortality in Australian heart failure patients (1994-2005)

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Journal Article
European Journal of Heart Failure, 2008, 10 (6), pp. 540 - 549
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Background: There are minimal reports of seasonal variations in chronic heart failure (CHF)-related morbidity and mortality beyond the northern hemisphere. Aims and methods: We examined potential seasonal variations with respect to morbidity and all-cause mortality over more than a decade in a cohort of 2961 patients with CHF from a tertiary referral hospital in South Australia subject to mild winters and hot summers. Results: Seasonal variation across all event-types was observed. CHF-related morbidity peaked in winter (July) and was lowest in summer (February): 70 (95% CI: 65 to 76) vs. 33 (95% CI: 30 to 37) admissions/1000 at risk (p < 0.005). All-cause admissions (113 (95% CI: 107 to 120) vs. 73 (95% CI 68 to 79) admissions/1000 at risk, p < 0.001) and concurrent respiratory disease (21% vs. 12%, p < 0.001) were consistently higher in winter. 2010 patients died, mortality was highest in August relative to February: 23 (95% CI: 20 to 27) vs. 12 (95% CI: 10 to 15) deaths per 1000 at risk, p < 0.001. Those aged 75 years or older were most at risk of seasonal variations in morbidity and mortality. Conclusion: Seasonal variations in CHF-related morbidity and mortality occur in the hot climate of South Australia, suggesting that relative (rather than absolute) changes in temperature drive this global phenomenon. Crown Copyright © 2008.
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