A new study carried out by researchers from the Leicester BRC has suggested there is strong link between a reduction in health-related quality of life (HRQoL) and increased rates of hospital admission and death from heart failure.
The research also suggests a reduction in HRQoL was a universal sign of increased risk of hospital admission and death in patients irrespective of their age and gender.
Compared to echocardiography and invasive biomarkers, HRQoL is a pragmatic, patient-centred and potentially low-cost indicator of clinical status and prognosis. and these findings suggest that making HRQoL readings standard practice could allow clinicians to identify those at high risk sooner and enable them to implement more effective treatment plans.
The findings were published in the October 2023 edition of The Lancet.
The research team, led by Dr Claire Lawson, Associate Professor and Advanced Research Fellow in Cardiovascular Science at the University of Leicester, analysed the data of nearly 80,000 patients taken from the Swedish Heart Registry between February 2008 and June 2019.
Of these participants, around 23,000 had a baseline HRQoL reading taken on or prior to registering.
This is normally done with a specialised medical questionnaire and regular clinical check-ups.
The researchers found that those without a reading were more likely to be older, female and have a higher symptom burden upon upon registration.
An estimated 56 million people are affected by heart failure worldwide, with around 9 million cases in Europe alone. The condition has significantly higher hospitalisation rates than other chronic conditions with a 30% mortality rate within the first year following diagnosis. Patients often experience a decline in mental and physical health functions which may leave them unable to undertake basic day to day activities prior to diagnosis.
The team behind the investigation argue that, because of this, it is essential to monitor the clinical status of those with heart failure, and that HQOL readings are crucial to developing better treatment plans for those with the condition.
The study’s Principal Investigator, Claire Lawson, said: “Following recent calls to integrate serial recordings of HRQoL into routine care, our study adds new evidence on the relationship between changing HRQoL and outcomes among heart failure patients.
“We found that women, people who were older or who had other cardiovascular complications reported significantly worse HRQoL and higher symptom burdens than their respective counterparts.
“However, despite these differences, HRQoL and its change over time were consistent and independent predictors of worse outcomes in all groups. To our knowledge this is the first study to demonstrate this.”
Dr Lawson added: “We have seen that monitoring clinical status is critical to identify deterioration in patients and to plan treatment and care. Though more evidence is needed, our findings suggest that making HRQoL readings standard practice could allow clinicians to identify those at high risk sooner and enable them to implement more effective treatment plans.”
For more information on the study please click here.