Neighborhood Poverty and Incident Heart Failure: an Analysis of Electronic Health Records from 2005 to 2018

Leah B. Rethy, Megan E. McCabe, Kiarri N. Kershaw, Faraz S. Ahmad, Tara Lagu, Lindsay R. Pool, Sadiya S. Khan*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Background: Neighborhood-level characteristics, such as poverty, have been associated with risk factors for heart failure (HF), including hypertension and diabetes mellitus. However, the independent association between neighborhood poverty and incident HF remains understudied. Objective: To evaluate the association between neighborhood poverty and incident HF using a “real-world” clinical cohort. Design: Retrospective cohort study of electronic health records from a large healthcare network. Individuals’ residential addresses were geocoded at the census-tract level and categorized by poverty tertiles based on American Community Survey data (2007–2011). Participants: Patients from Northwestern Medicine who were 30–80 years, free of cardiovascular disease at index visit (January 1, 2005–December 1, 2013), and followed for at least 5 years. Main Measures: The association of neighborhood-level poverty tertile (low, intermediate, and high) and incident HF was analyzed using generalized linear mixed effect models adjusting for demographics (age, sex, race/ethnicity) and HF risk factors (body mass index, diabetes mellitus, hypertension, smoking status). Key Results: Of 28,858 patients included, 75% were non-Hispanic (NH) White, 43% were men, 15% lived in a high-poverty neighborhood, and 522 (1.8%) were diagnosed with incident HF. High-poverty neighborhoods were associated with a 1.80 (1.35, 2.39) times higher risk of incident HF compared with low-poverty neighborhoods after adjustment for demographics and HF risk factors. Conclusions: In a large healthcare network, incident HF was associated with neighborhood poverty independent of demographic and clinical risk factors. Neighborhood-level interventions may be needed to complement individual-level strategies to prevent and curb the growing burden of HF.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3719-3727
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of general internal medicine
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2021


  • heart failure
  • incidence
  • neighborhood poverty
  • racial/ethnic disparities

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine


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