2 April 2019
April 2019 post
Among the recent literature on Advanced Heart Failure which I found on PubMed, I particularly enjoyed reading the opinion paper by Burnside et al on the American Journal of Hospital Palliative Care (2019, ePub Mar 28, doi: 10.1177/1049909119838250).
The authors state that "Advanced heart failure therapies such as ventricular assist devices and home inotrope use are becoming more common. Technology advances as well as increased indications for use of such therapies is leading to a higher percentage of patients with end-stage heart failure receiving these therapies at end of life.".
In the manuscript, the authors present a case of a young man with dilated cardiomyopathy who undergoes advanced cardiac care in the setting of progressively declining cardiac function, which outlines the importance of acute care, palliative care, and hospice services being coordinated prior to and during acute-care services to provide goal-concordant and expeditious care. With advancing medical therapies for heart disease, increased coordination and collaboration of services are needed, particularly between hospice and acute-care services.
I would like also to mention the work by Shoaib et al (Int J Cardiol. 2019. ePub on Mar 15, doi: 10.1016/j.ijcard.2019.03.020) which describe the “Characteristics and outcome of acute heart failure patients according to the severity of peripheral oedema”.
The authors state that "Most trials of patients hospitalized for heart failure focus on breathlessness, but worsening peripheral oedema is also an important presentation." They investigate the relationship between the severity of peripheral oedema on admission and outcome amongst patients with a primary discharge death or diagnosis of heart failure. Of 121,214 patients taken into consideration in their research, peripheral oedema on admission was absent in 24%, mild in 24%, moderate in 33% and severe in 18%. Median length of stay was, respectively, 6, 7, 9 and 12 days (P- < 0.001), index admission mortality was 7%, 8%, 10% and 16% (P- < 0.001) and mortality at a median follow-up of 344 (IQR 94-766) days was 39%, 46%, 52% and 59%. In an adjusted multi-variable Cox model, length of hospital stay and mortality during index admission and after discharge increased progressively with increasing severity of peripheral oedema at admission.
Finally, I considered it worth of reading the small retrospective study of six patients by De Lazzari et al (Comput Methods Programs Biomed. 2019;172:117-126) who focused on how LVAD support influence ventricular energetics parameters in advanced heart failure. The analysis of ventricular energetics parameters based on external work and pressure volume area confirmed LVAD support as a beneficial therapeutic option for the patients considered eligible for this type of treatment. The authors conclude that a quantitative approach with the ability to predict outcome during patient's assessment may well be an aid and not a substitute for clinical decision-making.