A significant and so far, unexplained, increase in crude mortality from heart failure in Irish hospitals between 2020 and 2021 has emerged in the seventh National Audit of Hospital Mortality, which monitors the patterns of mortality in 44 publicly funded acute hospitals nationally.
The crude mortality from heart failure increased by 15%, from 63.2 per 1,000 admission in 2020 to 72.8 in 2021, according to the audit.
It said there was insufficient data at present to establish the reason for the increase, but if continued, it would be investigated to see what was driving the change. It could be the result of our ageing population or there could be a higher comorbid impact on this cohort of patients following COVID-19.
“There is no direct correlation between the increase in the crude mortality rate and the number of COVID-19 cases during the reporting period. “However, the increase may be as an indirect consequence of COVID-19 because we know that the frail elderly were reluctant to attend hospital during the height of the pandemic and this may have led to sicker and more unstable patients with known heart failure presenting to hospital, resulting in the higher mortality rate.”
The report said the data would continue to be monitored for the next number of years to establish whether this trend was continuing and to establish the causes of the increase in mortality. International literature would also be reviewed to establish if there were similar findings in other countries.