Over 65,000 people are diagnosed with heart failure every year in Australia. Heart failure is implicated in the deaths of 61,000 individuals per year. Although the need for cardiovascular support is common in patients in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) with about 60% of ventilated patients requiring some form of inotropic or vasopressor support, a primary diagnosis of acute heart failure on admission to ICU is much less common. There are about 3000 ICU admissions per year primarily due to cardiogenic shock, cardiomyopathy or congestive heart failure in Australia and New Zealand.
This represents 2% of all ICU admissions. Only a minority of these patients have a prior history of significant cardiac disease. The mortality of these three conditions are 40%, 17% and 14% respectively. Since the early 2000’s there has been a progressive decline in risk adjusted mortality of all patients admitted to ANZ ICUs. However, the decline in mortality for patients with acute heart failure has lagged behind other diagnoses. This gap is widening.