Chronic heart failure (CHF) and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are associated with high rates of mortality in elderly subjects. Concurrent CHF and COPD frequently occur, especially in with advancing age. This study examines long-term mortality in community-dwelling elderly subjects affected by CHF alone, COPD alone, and coexistent CHF and COPD.The study evaluated 12-years mortality in 1288 subjects stratified for the presence or absence of CHF or COPD alone, and for coexistence of CHF and COPD.Mortality, at 12 year follow-up, was 46.7% overall, 68.6% in the presence of CHF alone (p < 0.001), 56.9% in the presence of COPD alone (p < 0.01); mortality was 86.2% where CHF and COPD coexisted (p < 0.001) and was significantly higher than in CHF or COPD alone (p < 0.05). Multivariate analysis indicates that CHF (Hazard risk = 1.67, 95% confidence interval 1.15-3.27, p < 0.031) and COPD (Hazard risk = 1.27, 95% confidence interval = 1.08-1.85, p < 0.042) were predictive of long-term mortality. When CHF and COPD simultaneously occurred, the risk dramatically increased up to 3.73 (95% confidence interval = 1.19-6.93, p < 0.001).Long-term follow-up showed higher mortality among elderly subjects affected by CHF or COPD. Simultaneous presence of CHF and COPD significantly increased the risk of death. Therefore, the presence of COPD in CHF patients should be considered a relevant factor in predicting high risk of mortality.
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