Correlating perceived arrhythmia symptoms and QoL in the elderly with Heart Failure in an urban clinic: A prospective, single center study

Hickey, Kathleen T.; Reiffel, James A.; Sciacca, Robert R.; Whang, William; Biviano, Angelo B.; Baumeister, Maurita; Castillo, Carmen; Talathothi, Jyothi; Garan, Hasan

Aims and objectives
To determine the relationship between quality of life and perceived self-reported symptoms in an older, ambulatory, urban population living with heart failure.

While arrhythmias in older individuals with heart failure are well documented, the association between perceived arrhythmia symptoms and quality of life is not well-defined.

Prospective, cross-sectional single-centre study.

A single-centre, prospective study was conducted with heart failure patients recruited from an urban outpatient cardiology clinic in the United States. Fifty-seven patients completed a baseline quality of life survey with 42 of these completing the six-month follow-up survey. Quality of life was evaluated with the SF-36v2™ and frequency of symptoms with the Atrial Fibrillation Severity Scale. Subjects wore an auto triggered cardiac loop monitor (LifeStar AF Express®) for two weeks to document arrhythmias. Data analysis utilised Spearman's rank correlation and logistic regression.

Baseline and six-month quality of life measures did not correlate with recorded arrhythmias. However, perceptions of diminished general health correlated significantly with symptoms of exercise intolerance, lightheadedness/dizziness, palpitations and chest pain/pressure. By multivariable logistic regression, more severe perceived episodes, symptoms of exercise intolerance and lightheadedness/dizziness were independently associated with diminished quality of life.

Quality of life was significantly worse in patients with perceptions of severe arrhythmic episodes and in those with symptoms of dizziness and exercise intolerance.

Relevance to clinical practice
The findings of this study indicate that symptomatic heart failure patients suffer from poor quality of life and that interventions are needed to improve quality of life and decrease symptom severity. Nurses who care for heart failure patients play an essential role in symptom evaluation and management and could significantly improve overall quality of life in these patients by carefully evaluating symptomatology and testing interventions and educational programmes aimed at improving quality of life.


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Journal of Clinical Nursing

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May 15, 2016