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Aim: To provide reliable survival estimates for people with chronic heart failure and explain variation in survival by key factors including age at diagnosis, left ventricular ejection fraction, decade of diagnosis, and study setting. Methods and results: We searched in relevant databases from inception to August 2018 for non-interventional studies reporting survival rates for patients with chronic or stable heart failure in any ambulatory setting. Across the 60 included studies, there was survival data for 1.5 million people with heart failure. In our random effects meta-analyses the pooled survival rates at 1 month, 1, 2, 5 and 10 years were 95.7% (95% confidence interval 94.3–96.9), 86.5% (85.4–87.6), 72.6% (67.0–76.6), 56.7% (54.0–59.4) and 34.9% (24.0–46.8), respectively. The 5-year survival rates improved between 1970–1979 and 2000–2009 across healthcare settings, from 29.1% (25.5–32.7) to 59.7% (54.7–64.6). Increasing age at diagnosis was significantly associated with a reduced survival time. Mortality was lowest in studies conducted in secondary care, where there were higher reported prescribing rates of key heart failure medications. There was significant heterogeneity among the included studies in terms of heart failure diagnostic criteria, participant co-morbidities, and treatment rates. Conclusion: These results can inform health policy and individual patient advanced care planning. Mortality associated with chronic heart failure remains high despite steady improvements in survival. There remains significant scope to improve prognosis through greater implementation of evidence-based treatments. Further research exploring the barriers and facilitators to treatment is recommended.

Original publication




Journal article


European Journal of Heart Failure

Publication Date





1306 - 1325