Need for better treatment of heart failure patients

A new study has highlighted the need for better treatment of heart disease patients suffering from additional chronic conditions.

Guidelines currently advise clinicians to focus on the patient's cardiovascular status, ignoring their non-cardiovascular disorders and symptoms, despite these often having a bigger burden on their quality of life.

Heart failure is a common chronic and progressive condition, where the heart muscle is unable to pump enough blood through the body to meet the body’s needs. These patients often suffer with one or more additional chronic conditions, otherwise known as comorbidities.

Researchers at the University of Leicester and Keele University worked with Linkoping University and the Australian Catholic University, to develop a new healthcare model which considers both the patient's cardiovascular and non-cardiovascular comorbidities, using data from 10,575 heart failure patients in the Swedish Heart Failure Register.

The study showed that the most predominant symptoms of cardiovascular comorbidities were pain and anxiety, whereas shortness of breath, leg swelling, and fatigue were common symptoms of non-cardiovascular comorbidities.

Dr Claire Lawson said: “This study highlights the lack of understanding about the relationship among different comorbidities, and the quality of life for patients with heart failure. It demonstrates the importance to develop guidance for the use of an individualised treatment approach for these patients.”