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Heart failure (HF) has been defined as global disease of pandemic proportions, since it affects around 26 million people worldwide. According to a recent study, age is the most important factor influencing the prevalence of HF, as it is for most other chronic conditions. This means that, with the predicted aging of the population (the proportion of the world’s population aged 60 years and over will nearly double from 2015 to 2050),  there will be a growth in the total burden of HF, and a rise in the number of comorbidities in HF patients. According to a recent study, almost 86% of adults with HF have two or more comorbid conditions. Comorbidity, defined as the co-existence of one or more additional conditions in individuals with a specified index medical condition,  adds to the complexity of treating elderly patients with HF. few studies have analyzed the costs of health care services for managing comorbidity in patients with HF. The aim of our study was therefore to investigate the impact of comorbidities on health care service usage and costs for an elderly HF cohort with high health care needs (HHCN), based on real-world data.
This study identified a correlation between number of comorbidities and health care resource usage in a cohort of elderly HHCN patients with HF. The association particularly concerned outpatient visits and expenditure on medication, whereas a higher comorbidity class did not seem to be associated with more hospital admissions or higher overall health care costs.
In times of epidemiological transitions and changing population needs,  these findings are important for the purpose of developing more sustainable health systems to tackle multimorbidity. Our data show how an increasing burden of comorbidities leads to a greater use of primary care services rather than secondary-level health care.
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