A study of 55 million patients shows hospital stays fell a remarkable 30 percent. It is the first such decline in the United States.
Researchers say it is evidence the nation is making headway in reducing the billion-dollar burden of this common condition.
But the study in the Journal of the American Medical Association found only a slight decline in deaths within a year of leaving the hospital.
There was also less progress for African-American men.
Efforts to change the natural history of heart failure may be having an effect, but researchers say it is still a very problematic disease.