Patients with heart failure need specialist care

November 1, 2013

(Medical Xpress)—New research from Karolinska Institutet in Sweden shows that patients with heart failure have high mortality and often are undertreated. According to a study, published in the scientific periodical JACC, many more of these patients would benefit from advanced treatment by heart specialists - something that could be decided by a simple evaluation of five common risk factors for early death due to heart failure.

Heart failure affects 2-3% of the overall population and over 10% of the elderly worldwide, and is associated with high risk for and reduced quality of life. Drug therapy improves symptoms and reduces mortality and is well used. However, modern heart failure pacemakers, heart pumps and also heart transplantation are of great benefit in selected , but are poorly utilized. Earlier studies have shown that, a major reason is that heart failure patients are generally cared for by generalist doctors with limited awareness of these treatments.

In the present study, a team comprising researchers at Karolinska Institutet, Linköping University, Stockholm South General Hospital and Karolinska University Hospital analysed data from 10,000 patients from the large Swedish Heart Failure Registry. First researchers showed that early death in these patients was related to heart failure (rather than for example age) suggesting that better treatment for heart failure would reduce mortality.

Second, the researchers defined 5 for mortality: poor pump capacity, poor kidney function, low blood count and absent treatment with the drugs ACE inhibitors and beta blockers. If any one of these risk factors was present in a given patient, the mortality was so high that the patient would potentially benefit from a heart failure pacemaker, heart pump and heart transplantation. This risk persisted after adjustment for a large number of other factors, such as patients' age, general health and other factors.

"Currently, less than 5% of patients with heart failure receive heart failure pacemakers and many fewer receive heart pumps or transplantation. Our findings suggest that many more need these treatments and should be referred to specialists for evaluation", says study leader Dr Lars H. Lund of Karolinska Institutet.

Explore further: Common heart failure drugs could benefit more patients

More information: Thorvaldsen, T. et al. Triage of Patients with Moderate to Severe Heart Failure: Who Should be Referred to a Heart Failure Center? Journal of the American College of Cardiology (JACC), online 25 October 2013. DOI: 10.1016/j.jacc.2013.10.017

Related Stories

Common heart failure drugs could benefit more patients

November 27, 2012
A novel study from Karolinska Institutet in Sweden suggests that commonly used drugs to treat heart failure and high blood pressure may have a wider range of application than earlier known, and also can be used against so ...

Pacemaker could help more heart failure patients

October 5, 2012
(Medical Xpress)—A new study from Karolinska Institutet demonstrates that a change in the ECG wave called the QRS prolongation is associated with a higher rate of heart-failure mortality. According to the team that carried ...

Digoxin use associated with higher risk of death for patients diagnosed with heart failure

September 20, 2013
Digoxin, a drug commonly used to treat heart conditions, was associated with a 72 percent higher rate of death among adults with newly diagnosed systolic heart failure, according to a Kaiser Permanente study that appears ...

Death highest in heart failure patients admitted in January, on Friday, and overnight

May 25, 2013
Mortality and length of stay are highest in heart failure patients admitted in January, on Friday, and overnight, according to research presented today at the Heart Failure Congress 2013. The analysis of nearly 1 million ...

Nerve stimulation in neck may reduce heart failure symptoms

October 30, 2013
A multidisciplinary team of experts in heart failure, cardiac arrhythmia, and neurosurgery at The Mount Sinai Hospital are now testing nerve stimulation in the neck as a novel therapy for heart failure patients to potentially ...

Heart study aims to identify at-risk patients after pump implant

September 24, 2013
Emory researchers are exploring the use of echocardiography, an established non-invasive method to view the heart without radiation, to help identify patients at risk for right ventricular heart failure after implantation ...

Recommended for you

Could aggressive blood pressure treatments lead to kidney damage?

July 18, 2017
Aggressive combination treatments for high blood pressure that are intended to protect the kidneys may actually be damaging the organs, new research from the University of Virginia School of Medicine suggests.

Quantifying effectiveness of treatment for irregular heartbeat

July 17, 2017
In a small proof-of-concept study, researchers at Johns Hopkins report a complex mathematical method to measure electrical communications within the heart can successfully predict the effectiveness of catheter ablation, the ...

Concerns over side effects of statins stopping stroke survivors taking medication

July 17, 2017
Negative media coverage of the side effects associated with taking statins, and patients' own experiences of taking the drugs, are among the reasons cited by stroke survivors and their carers for stopping taking potentially ...

Study discovers anticoagulant drugs are being prescribed against safety advice

July 17, 2017
A study by researchers at the University of Birmingham has shown that GPs are prescribing anticoagulants to patients with an irregular heartbeat against official safety advice.

Protein may protect against heart attack

July 14, 2017
DDK3 could be used as a new therapy to stop the build-up of fatty material inside the arteries

Heart study finds faulty link between biomarkers and clinical outcomes

July 14, 2017
Surrogate endpoints (biomarkers), which are routinely used in clinical research to test new drugs, should not be trusted as the ultimate measure to approve new health interventions in cardiovascular medicine, according to ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.