Hospitalizations due to heart failure fell 29.5% nationally, from 2,845 to 2,007 per 100,000 person-years from 1998 to 2008, according to a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Researchers believe the drop, which is the first ever reported in the U.S., has saved $4.1 billion in Medicare costs. The study failed to explain the decline, but researchers suggested some contributing factors, including lower incidence of heart failure risk factors.

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