New healthcare model is proposed, based on data from 10,575 patients in the Swedish Heart Failure Register
A new study by researchers at Leicester and Keele universities in the UK, Linköping University in Sweden and the Australian Catholic University, highlights the need for better treatment of heart disease patients suffering from additional chronic conditions.
Researchers used data from 10,575 heart failure patients in the Swedish Heart Failure Register to develop a new healthcare model which considers both the patient’s cardiovascular symptoms and non-cardiovascular comorbidities. The study findings were published in PLOS Medicine.
Guidelines currently advise clinicians to focus on a patient’s cardiovascular status, often ignoring non-cardiovascular disorders and symptoms, despite the fact that these possibly having a bigger burden on quality of life.
The study showed that the most predominant symptoms associated with cardiovascular disease were pain and anxiety, whereas shortness of breath, leg swelling, and fatigue were common symptoms associated with non-cardiovascular comorbidities.
These non-cardiovascular conditions were found to have a much higher burden on patients’ quality of life and to cause more severe symptoms than the cardiovascular disease.
“This study highlights the lack of understanding about the relationship among different comorbidities, and the quality of life for patients with heart failure,” said Claire Lawson, lecturer at Leicester University. “It demonstrates the importance to develop guidance for the use of an individualised treatment approach for these patients.”
The findings provide considerable evidence that targeting specific comorbidities and their associated symptoms could be an effective approach in treating patients with heart failure.