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Am J Cardiol. 2012 Jan 1;109(1):135-9. doi: 10.1016/j.amjcard.2011.07.072. Epub 2011 Sep 29.

Association between having a caregiver and clinical outcomes 1 year after hospitalization for cardiovascular disease.

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  • 1Columbia University Medical Center, New York-Presbyterian Hospital, New York, USA.


Caregivers might represent an opportunity to improve cardiovascular disease outcomes, but prospective data are limited. We studied 3,188 consecutive patients (41% minority, 39% women) admitted to a university hospital medical cardiovascular service to evaluate the association between having a caregiver and rehospitalization/death at 1 year. The clinical outcomes at 1 year were documented using a hospital-based clinical information system supplemented by a standardized questionnaire. Co-morbidities were documented by hospital electronic record review. At baseline, 13% (n = 417) of the patients had a paid caregiver and 25% (n = 789) had only an informal caregiver. Having a caregiver was associated with rehospitalization or death at 1 year (odds ratio [OR] 1.68, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.45 to 1.95), which varied by paid (OR 2.46, 95% CI 1.96 to 3.09) and informal (OR 1.40, 95% CI 1.18 to 1.65) caregiver status. Having a caregiver was significantly (p <0.05) associated with age ≥65 years, racial/ethnic minority, lack of health insurance, medical history of diabetes mellitus or hypertension, a Ghali co-morbidity index >1, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or taking ≥9 prescriptions medications. The relation between caregiving and rehospitalization/death at 1 year was attenuated but remained significant after adjustment (paid, OR 1.64, 95% CI 1.26 to 2.12; and informal, OR 1.20, 95% CI 1.00 to 1.44). In conclusion, the risk of rehospitalization/death was significantly greater among cardiac patients with caregivers and was not fully explained by the presence of traditional co-morbidities. Systematic determination of having a caregiver might be a simple method to identify patients at a heightened risk of poor clinical outcomes.

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