The Impact of Environmental Factors on the Mortality of Patients With Chronic Heart Failure

Persio D. Lopez, Eder H. Cativo-Calderon, Diana Otero, Mahjabeen Rashid, Steven Atlas, Clive Rosendorff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Outcomes of acute heart failure hospitalizations are worse during the winter than the rest of the year. Seasonality data are more limited for outcomes in chronic heart failure and the effect of environmental variables is unknown. In this population-level study, we merged 20-year data for 555,324 patients with heart failure from the national Veterans Administration database with data on climate from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and air pollutants by the Environmental Protection Agency. The outcome was the all-cause mortality rate, stratified by geographical location and each month. The impact of environmental factors was assessed through Pearson's correlation and multiple regression with a family-wise α = 0.05. The monthly all-cause mortality was 13.9% higher in the winter than the summer, regardless of gender, age group, and heart failure etiology. Winter season, lower temperatures, and higher concentrations of nitrogen dioxide were associated with a higher mortality rate in multivariate analysis of the overall population. Different environmental factors were associated in regions with similar patterns of temperature and precipitation. The only environmental factor associated with the mortality rate of patients dwelling in large urban centers was the air quality index. In conclusion, the mortality in chronic heart failure exhibits a seasonal pattern, regardless of latitude or climate. In this group of patients, particularly those of male gender, a higher mortality was associated with environmental factors and incorporating these factors in treatment plans and recommendations could have a favorable cost-benefit ratio.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)48-55
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Cardiology
StatePublished - 1 May 2021


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