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PLoS Med. 2018 Mar 27;15(3):e1002540. doi: 10.1371/journal.pmed.1002540. eCollection 2018 Mar.

Comorbidity health pathways in heart failure patients: A sequences-of-regressions analysis using cross-sectional data from 10,575 patients in the Swedish Heart Failure Registry.

Author information

1
Diabetes Research Centre, Leicester University, Leicester, United Kingdom.
2
Institute for Applied Clinical Sciences, Keele University, Keele, United Kingdom.
3
Department of Medical and Health Sciences, Linköping University, Linköping, Sweden.
4
Department of Cardiology, Linköping University, Linköping, Sweden.
5
Keele Cardiovascular Research Group, Centre for Prognosis Research, Institute of Primary Care and Health Sciences, Keele University, Keele, United Kingdom.
6
Department of Social and Welfare Studies, Linköping University, Linköping, Sweden.
7
Mary MacKillop Institute for Health Research, Australian Catholic University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Optimally treated heart failure (HF) patients often have persisting symptoms and poor health-related quality of life. Comorbidities are common, but little is known about their impact on these factors, and guideline-driven HF care remains focused on cardiovascular status. The following hypotheses were tested: (i) comorbidities are associated with more severe symptoms and functional limitations and subsequently worse patient-rated health in HF, and (ii) these patterns of association differ among selected comorbidities.

METHODS AND FINDINGS:

The Swedish Heart Failure Registry (SHFR) is a national population-based register of HF patients admitted to >85% of hospitals in Sweden or attending outpatient clinics. This study included 10,575 HF patients with patient-rated health recorded during first registration in the SHFR (1 February 2008 to 1 November 2013). An a priori health model and sequences-of-regressions analysis were used to test associations among comorbidities and patient-reported symptoms, functional limitations, and patient-rated health. Patient-rated health measures included the EuroQol-5 dimension (EQ-5D) questionnaire and the EuroQol visual analogue scale (EQ-VAS). EQ-VAS score ranges from 0 (worst health) to 100 (best health). Patient-rated health declined progressively from patients with no comorbidities (mean EQ-VAS score, 66) to patients with cardiovascular comorbidities (mean EQ-VAS score, 62) to patients with non-cardiovascular comorbidities (mean EQ-VAS score, 59). The relationships among cardiovascular comorbidities and patient-rated health were explained by their associations with anxiety or depression (atrial fibrillation, odds ratio [OR] 1.16, 95% CI 1.06 to 1.27; ischemic heart disease [IHD], OR 1.20, 95% CI 1.09 to 1.32) and with pain (IHD, OR 1.25, 95% CI 1.14 to 1.38). Associations of non-cardiovascular comorbidities with patient-rated health were explained by their associations with shortness of breath (diabetes, OR 1.17, 95% CI 1.03 to 1.32; chronic kidney disease [CKD, OR 1.23, 95% CI 1.10 to 1.38; chronic obstructive pulmonary disease [COPD], OR 95% CI 1.84, 1.62 to 2.10) and with fatigue (diabetes, OR 1.27, 95% CI 1.13 to 1.42; CKD, OR 1.24, 95% CI 1.12 to 1.38; COPD, OR 1.69, 95% CI 1.50 to 1.91). There were direct associations between all symptoms and patient-rated health, and indirect associations via functional limitations. Anxiety or depression had the strongest association with functional limitations (OR 10.03, 95% CI 5.16 to 19.50) and patient-rated health (mean difference in EQ-VAS score, -18.68, 95% CI -23.22 to -14.14). HF optimizing therapies did not influence these associations. Key limitations of the study include the cross-sectional design and unclear generalisability to other populations. Further prospective HF studies are required to test the consistency of the relationships and their implications for health.

CONCLUSIONS:

Identification of distinct comorbidity health pathways in HF could provide the evidence for individualised person-centred care that targets specific comorbidities and associated symptoms.

PMID:
29584734
PMCID:
PMC5870940
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pmed.1002540
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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