Innovation in Heart Failure Treatment: Lengthening Lives and Narrowing Disparities

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An estimated 5.7 million American adults suffer from congestive heart failure, a progressive, disabling and incurable disease where the heart can’t pump enough blood to meet the body’s needs. People with heart failure struggle to breathe, tire easily and often lose their independence. Each year, almost 1 million more Americans are diagnosed with
heart failure, and about half die within five years of diagnosis. Heart failure is a contributing factor in 1 in 9 U.S. deaths. Along with the human costs—premature death, disability and loss of quality of life—the economic costs of heart failure are large—almost $32 billion annually for U.S. treatment costs and lost productivity. Heart failure also disproportionately affects black men and women, contributing to health disparities. In recent years, evidence-based treatment of heart failure and associated risk factors has contributed to declines in hospitalization and death rates for heart failure. Despite these gains, the incidence of heart failure is expected to double among 65- to-75-year-olds by 2030, according to a new analysis from the USC Leonard D. Schaeffer Center for Health Policy & Economics. Until recently, there has been relatively little innovation in heart failure treatments, and even clearly effective treatment innovations can face barriers in reaching patients because of lack of insurance coverage or physician unwillingness to change therapies. Ensuring patients have timely access to innovative treatments could reduce both the overall burden of heart failure and health disparities.

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