Cardiovascular Crisis: Heart Failure Deaths Rise at Frightening Rate in America According to New Kaiser Permanente Study

Oct 31, 2019 | Cardiovascular, Heart Failure, High Blood Pressure, Population Health

Cardiovascular Crisis Heart Failure Deaths Rise at Frightening Rate in America According to New Kaiser Permanente Study

Kaiser Permanente conducted a study recently and concluded deaths due to heart failure is on the rise—especially in the population over 65. One in 8 deaths is now caused by heart failure. The increase is dramatic and deeply troubling.

Heart Failure

According to Kaiser it is a chronic, progressive form of heart disease in which the heart muscle fails to adequately pump blood. A debilitating condition that results in a declining quality of life.  One in eight deaths have heart failure as an underlying cause and 9 out of 10 of those deaths occur in the over 65 age bracket.

The Study

Titled “Association Between Aging of the U.S. Population and Heart Disease Mortality from 2011 to 2017” Kaiser Permanente researchers analyzed publicly available, national data in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Wide-Ranging Online Data for Epidemiologic Research or CDC Wonder system. The team found that more than 647,000 people in America died from heart disease in 2017, about 51,000 more than in 2011. Of those deaths, 80,000 had heart failure as an underlying cause in 2017, approximately 22,000 more than in 2011. The study was published in JAMA Cardiology

Rate of death & total number of deaths rise

Both the rate of death and the total number of deaths attributable to heart failure are on the rise. An increase of 20.7% in the age-adjusted mortality rate for heart failure, which coupled wit the aging of the population (“silver tsunami”) leads to a 38% increase in the number of heart failure deaths.

Health Care System Response

From innovative changes to clinical care to health policy initiatives the surge in death merits thoughtful and calculated response. As senior author Jamal S. Rana, MD, PhD chief of cardiology at Kaiser noted, “We are in the midst of a ‘silver tsunami’ of heart disease and heart failure.”

Heart disease generally is on the rise in America while it declines in many other regions on the globe.  Changing demographics (age) represents a factor—leading causes include Ischemic heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, other heart conditions or diseases and other factors. With about 5.7 million people in America with heart failure the number is growing, some key risk factors from the NHLBI include:

  • Aging (over 65 and the heart muscle can weaken plus a culmination of other factors and elements, e.g. other disease, etc.)
  • African Americans face disproportionately greater risks for heart failure
  • Overweight and obesity which we at TrialSite News have declared is a health care crisis
  • People who have had a heart attack

Lead Research/Investigator

Jamal S. Rana, MD, PhD chief of cardiology at Kaiser

Steve Sidney, MD, senior research scientist

Additional Kaiser members were involved in the study.

Call to Action: Wondering where to start? Do your homework. Understand if you are at risk with your doctor—and follow a course of action recommended by your doctor and associated health team.


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