Heart failure in nursing home residents; a cross-sectional study to determine the prevalence and clinical characteristics

M.A.M.J. Daamen*, J.P.H. Hamers, A.P.M. Gorgels, H.P. Brunner-La Rocca, F.E.S. Tan, M.P. van Dieijen-Visser, J.M.G.A. Schols

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background: Heart failure (HF) is expected to be highly prevalent in nursing home residents, but precise figures are scarce. The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence of HF in nursing home residents and to get insight in the clinical characteristics of residents with HF.

Methods: The study followed a multi-centre cross-sectional design. Nursing home residents (n = 501) in the southern part of the Netherlands aged over 65 years and receiving long-term somatic or psychogeriatric care were included in the study. The diagnosis of HF and related characteristics were based on data collected from actual clinical examinations (including history, physical examination, ECG, cardiac markers and echocardiography), patient records and questionnaires. A panel of two cardiologists and a geriatrician ultimately judged the data to diagnose HF.

Results: The overall prevalence of HF in nursing home residents was 33 %, of which 52 % had HF with preserved ejection fraction. The symptoms dyspnoea and oedema and a cardiac history were more common in residents with HF. Diabetes mellitus, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) were also more prevalent in those with HF. Residents with HF had a higher score on the Mini Mental State Examination. 54 % of those with HF where not known before, and in 31 % with a history of HF, this diagnosis was not confirmed by the expert panel.

Conclusion: This study shows that HF is highly prevalent in nursing home residents with many unknown or falsely diagnosed with HF. Equal number of HF patients had reduced and preserved left-ventricular ejection fraction.

Original languageEnglish
Article number167
Number of pages9
JournalBMC Geriatrics
Publication statusPublished - 16 Dec 2015


  • Heart failure
  • Nursing home residents
  • Diagnosis
  • Prevalence

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