Quality of Life for Heart Patients


Congestive heart failure affects more than 5.3 million Americans, is increasing in prevalence, and is ultimately fatal, but the duration and quality of life leading up to death can be unpredictable and vary greatly. Patients and caregivers could better plan for this difficult time if they knew what to expect, according to an article published in Journal of Palliative Medicine.

A release from the publisher notes that the research team indentified five of the most common scenarios for the last 12 months of life in end-stage heart failure in an effort to help bring some degree of predictability to the end of life for patients and help them gain some control over their illness. For example, the authors concluded that it may be possible to use progression towards death over three consecutive months as a predictor of need for hospice consults.

The release quotes Charles F. von Gunten, MD, PhD, Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Palliative Medicine and Clinical Professor of Medicine, University of California, San Diego, as saying, "Death from heart failure is the leading cause of death in the United States. It is high time that, like death from cancer, we plan for the future rather than being surprised when it happens."


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