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Acute heart failure admissions in New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory: the NSW HF Snapshot Study

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Heart failure (HF) is a major burden on the health care system, and much of this burden is associated with the high rates of admission to hospital for managing episodes of acute decompensation. Based on the expected rise in the number of patients with HF as the population ages, it is likely that the use of hospital resources will continue to increase.1 Detailed data on hospital admissions for HF are therefore of considerable interest, including measures of morbidity, case load and costs related to HF.

Despite the importance of national data for quantifying HF and understanding its management and outcomes, such data are not currently available. Lack of funding, difficulties with case definition, and cross-jurisdictional problems have contributed to this failure.2 To facilitate a national approach to understanding HF and improving outcomes, the New South Wales HF Snapshot therefore sought to provide detailed representative data on hospital admissions for acute HF.


The NSW HF Snapshot was a prospective audit of consecutive patients who presented with acute HF and were admitted to 24 public hospitals (13 metropolitan and 11 rural) in NSW and the Australian Capital Territory during a one-month period. Each hospital had an attending cardiologist who was responsible for confirming the admission diagnosis. The snapshot methodology was based on a similar audit…