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Heart failure more fatal than common cancers

May 4, 2017
Keele University
A new study shows that men and women suffering from heart failure have a higher risk of death than people with most common types of cancer.

A study led by Keele University, in collaboration with the Universities of Aberdeen and Manchester, shows that men and women suffering from heart failure have a higher risk of death than people with most common types of cancer.

The primary care database study if the first of its kind to compare survival of them, separated by gender. Heart failure is a leading cause of death globally, and the result of this study will be vital in working towards improving the outcomes of heart failure patients.

Anonymised data was collected between 2000 to 2011 from 393 general practices in Scotland. The dataset (PCCIU) used included patient information for approximately a third of the Scottish population and represented a mixture of age and gender, as well a range of people geographically and economically.

For men, the four most common cancers are prostate, lung, colorectal, and bladder; while for women, they are breast, colorectal, lung, and ovarian. Diagnoses of cancer and heart failure were at similar ages in men, but women typically experienced heart failure later in life. Only 5.5% of either gender suffering from heart failure did not have another disease as well, compared to 20-38% of cancer patients.

Despite advances in healthcare, the study showed that heart failure remains as life-threatening as the most common forms of cancer, in both men and women.

Lead author Professor Mamas Mamas, Professor of Cardiology at Keele University and Consultant Cardiologist at the Royal Stoke Hospital, University Hospital North Midlands Trust, stated: "The findings of this study are important, our study shows that despite advances in the treatment of heart failure with newer drugs and devices, mortality rates remain significant and heart failure remains as malignant as many of the common cancers."

Professor Phyo Kyaw Myint, University of Aberdeen, said: "Older patients with heart failure also have other co-morbid diseases, and therefore understanding of outcome in this patient group is important for clinicians. This study also reminds us that observational studies are important in clinical research because clinical trials do not include the typical older people we manage in day to day clinical practice."

Dr Matt Sperrin, Health eResearch Centre at The University of Manchester, commented: "This study highlights how anonymised data from general practices can be used to uncover evidence that helps us understand how patients can be best managed. The comparison will hopefully highlight the potential impact of heart failure to the public, who can take proactive steps to prevent it."

Story Source:

Materials provided by Keele University. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

Journal Reference:

  1. Mamas A. Mamas, Matthew Sperrin, Margaret C. Watson, Alasdair Coutts, Katie Wilde, Christopher Burton, Umesh T. Kadam, Chun Shing Kwok, Allan B. Clark, Peter Murchie, Iain Buchan, Philip C. Hannaford, Phyo K. Myint. Do patients have worse outcomes in heart failure than in cancer? A primary care-based cohort study with 10-year follow-up in Scotland. European Journal of Heart Failure, 2017; DOI: 10.1002/ejhf.822

Cite This Page:

Keele University. "Heart failure more fatal than common cancers." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 May 2017. <>.
Keele University. (2017, May 4). Heart failure more fatal than common cancers. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 22, 2024 from
Keele University. "Heart failure more fatal than common cancers." ScienceDaily. (accessed April 22, 2024).

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