Cleveland Clinic Children’s Study Reveals Burden of Pediatric Heart Failure Rising

Children with heart failure face higher mortality rates in emergency situations compared to adults

Media Contact

Shannon Kelley 216.318.8067

Jenna Homrock 216.386.9628

Findings from a new Cleveland Clinic Children’s study found a rise in pediatric heart failure related emergency department visits and primary heart failure hospitalizations between 2012 and 2016. Congenital heart disease, cardiomyopathy and arrhythmias were responsible for the majority.

While there have been numerous adult studies highlighting the incidence of heart failure, this study, which was published today in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, is the first to look into the national burden of pediatric heart failure across all pediatric age groups in the U.S. healthcare system regardless of insurance status.

The study analyzed data from national inpatient and emergency department databases along with mortality data from the 2012 and 2016 national vital statistics system, which reports information on all deaths occurring in the United States.  Researchers found that compared to 2012, in 2016, pediatric heart failure emergency department visits rose by 82% and primary heart failure hospitalizations increased by 14%.

“We know that approximately 6.2 million adults have heart failure in the U.S., but in that population there is a better understanding of the overall burden of the disease, it’s risk factors and associated mortality, which has helped create strategies to reduce hospitalizations, re-hospitalizations and ultimately decrease mortality,” said Shahnawaz Amdani M.D., pediatric cardiologist at Cleveland Clinic Children’s and the study’s lead author.  “Such national efforts have yet to be taken in the pediatric population and it’s our hope this data will encourage steps in that direction.”

While there are multiple FDA-approved medications to treat heart failure in adults, there is only one such medication for children.  This study showed that while the pediatric heart failure burden was overall lower compared to adult heart failure across the healthcare system, deaths in emergency departments and in-hospital were significantly higher in children compared to adults.

 “With the rise of surgically corrected congenital heart disease and improving medical care, a continued rise in the burden of pediatric heart failure is likely, so continued surveillance and reductions of preventable risk factors are necessary,” said W. H. Wilson Tang, MD, research director, and cardiologist in the Section of Heart Failure and Cardiac Transplantation Medicine in the Heart, Vascular & Thoracic Institute at Cleveland Clinic. 


About Cleveland Clinic
Cleveland Clinic is a nonprofit multispecialty academic medical center that integrates clinical and hospital care with research and education. Located in Cleveland, Ohio, it was founded in 1921 by four renowned physicians with a vision of providing outstanding patient care based upon the principles of cooperation, compassion and innovation. Cleveland Clinic has pioneered many medical breakthroughs, including coronary artery bypass surgery and the first face transplant in the United States. U.S. News & World Report consistently names Cleveland Clinic as one of the nation’s best hospitals in its annual “America’s Best Hospitals” survey. Among Cleveland Clinic’s 72,500 employees worldwide are more than 5,050 salaried physicians and researchers, and 17,800 registered nurses and advanced practice providers, representing 140 medical specialties and subspecialties. Cleveland Clinic is a 6,500-bed health system that includes a 173-acre main campus near downtown Cleveland, 21 hospitals, more than 220 outpatient facilities, including locations in northeast Ohio; southeast Florida; Las Vegas, Nevada; Toronto, Canada; Abu Dhabi, UAE; and London, England. In 2021, there were 10.2 million total outpatient visits, 304,000 hospital admissions and observations, and 259,000 surgical cases throughout Cleveland Clinic’s health system. Patients came for treatment from every state and 185 countries. Visit us at Follow us at News and resources available at

About Cleveland Clinic Children’s
Cleveland Clinic Children’s is a part of the Cleveland Clinic health system and offers full medical, surgical and rehabilitative care for infants, children and adolescents. Cleveland Clinic Children’s supports 389 beds in four acute care hospitals and one post-acute specialty hospital. In addition, pediatric services are available at more than 50 outpatient clinic locations across Northeast Ohio. A staff of more than 300 full-time pediatricians and sub-specialists see 750,000 pediatric visits each year and provide hospital care for 13,000 children per year. Cleveland Clinic Children’s is a non-profit, multi-specialty academic medical center integrating clinical care, research, and education. Cleveland Clinic Children’s consistently ranks among the “Best Children’s Hospitals” by U.S. News & World Report. Visit us online at and on Facebook at

Editor’s Note: Cleveland Clinic News Service is available to provide broadcast-quality interviews and B-roll upon request.