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Prog Cardiovasc Dis. 2000 Nov-Dec;43(3):259-74.

Management of the patient with congestive heart failure using outpatient, home, and palliative care.

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Department of Cardiology and Home-Based Primary Care, Palo Alto Veterans Affairs, CA, USA.


Congestive heart failure is a chronic, debilitating illness, with increasing prevalence in the elderly. It is one of the most common causes for hospital admission, and associated treatment costs are estimated at $20.2 billion. Despite improved survival with medical therapy, beneficial effects on quality of life have not been consistently reported. In addition, optimum medical therapy, as recommended by evidence-based guidelines, are not always implemented. Counseling and education involving dietary modifications, activity recommendations, medication management, self-monitoring, prognosis, coping skills, social support, caregiver stress, and spiritual needs are critical components in the management of heart failure through initial diagnosis to end of life. Within the last decade, close follow-up for congestive heart failure has been associated with decreased hospitalizations, reduced hospital length of stay, improved functional status, better compliance, lower costs, and improved survival. Research trials have mainly been observational and small, and they have used different interventions. Little has been written regarding outpatient management of the patient with advanced congestive heart failure, and none of the current published guidelines addresses recommendations for the New York Heart Association class IV (other than for transplant candidacy). New models of close follow-up for chronic and advanced congestive heart failure should be investigated. These models could be implemented in urban and rural settings and be supported by private insurance or Medicare.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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