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J Card Fail. 2000 Sep;6(3):225-32.

Preferences for treatment outcomes in patients with heart failure: symptoms versus survival.

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  • 1Philadelphia College of Pharmacy, University of the Sciences in Philadelphia, Pennsylvannia 19104, USA.



Patient preferences for congestive heart failure therapy outcomes may vary depending on the goals of improving symptoms versus survival, but this has not been extensively investigated. Our objective was to analyze patient preferences for congestive heart failure therapy outcomes based on the goals of symptom versus survival improvement.


This was a prospective, full-profile conjoint analysis study of individual preferences for congestive heart failure treatment outcomes. Conjoint analysis was based on ratings of 16 treatment-outcome profiles, each consisting of 4 attributes (tiredness, shortness of breath, depression, and survival) varied across 4 severity levels. Part-worths (utilities) and importance weights were calculated for each attribute to determine their relative contribution to the full-profile rating decision using standard full-profile conjoint analysis techniques. Fifty-one patients with congestive heart failure from our medical center (University of Pennsylvania Medical Center, Philadelphia, PA) and 47 age-, gender-, and race-matched control subjects were studied. Part-worths and importance weights were significantly different for shortness of breath and depression between patients and control subjects. Symptom-sensitive (n = 33) and survival-sensitive (n = 17) treatment outcome preference segments were identified within the patient group. Importance weights for symptom-sensitive versus survival-sensitive patients were as follows: tiredness 0.30+/-0.10 versus 0.16+/-0.09 (P < .01); shortness of breath 0.26+/-0.08 versus 0.21+/-0.08 (P = .07); depression 0.26+/-0.09 versus 0.19+/-0.09 (P = .01); and survival 0.18+/-0.07 versus 0.43+/-0.11 (P < .01). There were no significant predictors of which treatment outcome preference segment a patient belonged. Control subjects did not display similar preference segmentation.


Symptomatic congestive heart-failure patients were clustered into symptom-sensitive and survival-sensitive segments in a manner suggesting that treatment outcomes of improved symptoms were of greater importance to the majority than longer survival. A full understanding of these individual preferences may have important implications for the design of therapy for heart-failure patients.

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