The Role of Palliative Care in Heart Failure, Part 2: Characteristics of Patients Undergoing Outpatient Palliative Care Evaluation for Advanced Cardiac Therapies

Link to article at PubMed

J Palliat Med. 2023 Oct 25. doi: 10.1089/jpm.2022.0596. Online ahead of print.


Background: Characteristics of patients undergoing outpatient evaluation for advanced cardiac therapies are largely unknown. Objective: To describe demographics, baseline quality of life, and frailty of patients undergoing evaluation for advanced therapies at the time of presentation for evaluation in an outpatient cardiac palliative care clinic and examine key quality of life differences across patients. Design: Retrospective chart review to report baseline demographics and quality of life. Settings/Subjects: Patients at a large academic medical center in the United States referred for advanced cardiac therapies in 2021. Measurements: Depression and anxiety were measured using the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale; quality of life was measured using the Functional Assessment of Chronic Illness Therapy-Palliative care (FACIT-Pal) tool; and frailty was measured using the Fried Frailty Phenotype. Differences in quality of life by disease etiology, demographic characteristics, and frailty were assessed. Results: Fifty-four patients were seen in the outpatient cardiac palliative care clinic for advanced therapy evaluation. Most were Caucasian (80%) and male (74%). Patients traveled an average of 61 minutes to the clinic. All but five lived in a rural, medically underserved, or health professional shortage area. Forty percent scored abnormal or borderline abnormal for anxiety; 22% scored abnormal or borderline abnormal for depression. The FACIT-Pal mean score was 129 (standard deviation 23), with emotional and functional well-being domains contributing most to poor quality of life. Seventy-one percent were frail. Patients with a nonischemic etiology had a 3.32 times higher rate of anxiety than nonischemic patients (95% confidence interval = 1.05-10.54, p = 0.041). Conclusion: As patients undergoing transplant evaluation have high levels of depression, anxiety, and frailty, interdisciplinary care teams will be needed to properly manage the needs of this complex population. These results can inform efforts to integrate palliative care into advanced cardiac therapy and improve patients' experiences.

PMID:37878322 | DOI:10.1089/jpm.2022.0596

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