Outcomes of Heart Failure in COVID-19 Patients: An Appalachian Experience

Huzefa Bhopalwala, Aelia Akbar, Nakeya Dewaswala, Lauren Wisnieski, Abdul Mannan Khan Minhas, Akbar Hussain, Vinayak Mishra, Sourbha S. Dani, Andrew Kolodziej, Gaurang Vaidya, Abhishek Kulkarni, Jonathan Piercy, Shyam Ganti, Nagabhishek Moka, Adnan Bhopalwala


Background: The Southeastern rural areas of the USA have a higher prevalence of heart failure (HF). Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) infection is associated with poor outcomes in patients with HF. Our study aimed to compare the outcomes of hospitalized HF patients with and without COVID-19 infection specifically in rural parts of the USA.

Methods: We conducted a retrospective cohort study of HF patients with and without COVID-19 hospitalized in Southeastern rural parts of the USA by using the Appalachian Regional Healthcare System. Analyses were stratified by waves from April 1, 2020 to May 31, 2021, and from June 1, 2021 to October 19, 2021.

Results: Of the 14,379 patients hospitalized with HF, 6% had concomitant COVID-19 infection. We found that HF patients with COVID-19 had higher mortality rate compared to those without COVID-19 (21.8% versus 3.8%, respectively, P < 0.01). Additionally, hospital resource utilization was significantly higher in HF patients with COVID-19 compared to HF patients without COVID-19 with intensive care unit (ICU) utilization of 21.6% versus 13.8%, P < 0.01, mechanical ventilation use of 17.3% versus 6.2%, P < 0.01, and vasopressor/inotrope use of 16.8% versus 7.9%, P < 0.01. A lower percentage of those with COVID-19 were discharged home compared to those without a COVID-19 diagnosis (63.4% versus 72.0%, respectively). There was a six-fold greater odds of dying in the first wave and seven-fold greater odds of dying in the second wave.

Conclusions: Our study confirms previous findings of poor outcome in HF patients with COVID-19. There is a need for review of healthcare resources in rural hospitals which already face numerous healthcare challenges.

Cardiol Res. 2022;13(3):162-171
doi: https://doi.org/10.14740/cr1389


Coronavirus; Heart failure; COVID-19; SARS-CoV-2; Cohort; Mortality; Survival

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