Predicting the progression of heart failure is difficult, and changes in treatment may be needed.

More than 5 million persons in the United States have heart failure; among persons more than 65 years old, the incidence is 10 cases per 1000 population.1 Heart failure accounts for more hospitalizations than does any other condition, and the mortality rate is high: 1 in 5 patients dies within 1 year of diagnosis, and approximately 50% die within 5 years of diagnosis.1 Approximately 1 million patients are hospitalized yearly with acute decompensated heart failure (ADHF), and registry data indicate a 4% hospital mortality rate for patients with ADHF who have a primary or secondary diagnosis of heart failure at the time of hospitalization.2 The likelihood of death during ADHF is high, and rehospitalization is significantly greater than for patients who...

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