The population burden of heart failure attributable to modifiable risk factors: The ARIC (atherosclerosis risk in communities) study

Christy L. Avery, Laura R. Loehr, Christopher Baggett, Patricia P. Chang, Anna M. Kucharska-Newton, Kunihiro Matsushita, Wayne D. Rosamond, Gerardo Heiss

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: The goal of this study was to estimate the population burden of heart failure and the influence of modifiable risk factors. Background: Heart failure is a common, costly, and fatal disorder, yet few studies have evaluated the population-level influence of modifiable risk factors. Methods: From 14,709 ARIC (Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities) study participants, we estimated incidence rate differences (IRD) for the association between 5 modifiable risk factors (cigarette smoking, diabetes, elevated low-density lipoproteins, hypertension, and obesity) and heart failure. Potential impact fractions were used to measure expected changes in the heart failure incidence assuming achievement of a 5% proportional decrement in the prevalence of each risk factor. Results: Over an average of 17.6 years of follow-up, 1 in 3 African American and 1 in 4 Caucasian participants were hospitalized with heart failure, defined as the first hospitalization with International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision discharge codes of 428.x. Of the 5 modifiable risk factors, the largest IRD was observed for diabetes, which was associated with 1,058 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 787 to 1,329) and 660 (95% CI: 514 to 805) incident hospitalizations of heart failure/100,000 person-years among African-American and Caucasian participants, respectively. A 5% proportional reduction in the prevalence of diabetes would result in approximately 53 and 33 fewer incident heart failure hospitalizations per 100,000 person-years in African-American and Caucasian ARIC participants, respectively. When applied to U.S. populations, this reduction may prevent approximately 30,000 incident cases of heart failure annually. Conclusions: Modest decrements in the prevalence of modifiable heart failure risk factors such as diabetes may substantially decrease the incidence of this major disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1640-1646
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of the American College of Cardiology
Issue number17
StatePublished - Oct 23 2012


  • diabetes
  • epidemiology
  • heart failure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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