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Arch Intern Med. 2011 Nov 28;171(21):1887-93. doi: 10.1001/archinternmed.2011.518.

Secondhand smoke exposure and quality of life in patients with heart failure.

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Department of Cardiac Sciences, University of Calgary, Alberta, Canada.



Secondhand smoke (SHS) exposure is associated with an increased risk of atherosclerotic heart disease and cardiac events. We sought to assess the effect of SHS on health-related quality of life (HRQOL) in patients with heart failure.


Current nonsmokers with heart failure (N = 205) were enrolled in a cohort study. Exposure to SHS was assessed with a validated exposure questionnaire and a high-sensitivity assay for urinary cotinine level. Multidimensional HRQOL was evaluated with the RAND 36-Item Short Form Health Survey, which assesses 8 domains on a scale of 0 (worst) to 100 (best): physical functioning, bodily pain, role limitations due to physical health problems (role physical), role limitations due to emotional/personal problems (role emotional), emotional well-being, social functioning, energy/fatigue, and general health perceptions. A subset of patients (n = 75) agreed to assessment of functional status with a 6-minute walk test.


Self-reported exposure to SHS was associated with generally lower HRQOL scores in univariate analysis, with statistically and clinically significant reductions in 3 subscale scores: role physical (22.2 points), emotional well-being (11.0 points), and role emotional (16.2 points). Even after adjustment for clinical factors, such as age, sex, New York Heart Association class of heart failure, comorbidities, and medications, exposure to SHS remained an independent predictor of HRQOL scores in these domains. When increasing quartiles of urinary cotinine level were used as the exposure measure, qualitatively similar results were obtained.


Even low levels of SHS are associated with lower scores in several aspects of HRQOL. Physicians should advise patients with heart failure and their families to avoid SHS exposure.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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