Heart failure and stroke identified as lethal combination

Jonkoping, Sweden – 20 May 2017: Heart failure and stroke has been identified as a lethal combination in research presented today at EuroHeartCare 2017.1 Heart failure patients with previous stroke had greater risks of depression, hospitalisation and death than those without a history of stroke.

“Stroke is a common comorbidity in patients with heart failure, yet little is known about the characteristics and outcomes of this patient population,” said Dr Chantal Ski, associate professor, Melbourne University, Australia. “Both are complex and debilitating diseases so it seems likely that patients experiencing both will do worse but there is no evidence base to help guide clinical practice.”

This study was conducted to identify differences in the psychosocial and behavioural characteristics and outcomes between heart failure patients with and without comorbid stroke. The study was a secondary analysis of the Coordinating study evaluating Outcomes of Advising and Counselling in Heart failure (COACH) study, a randomised controlled trial conducted at 17 centres in the Netherlands.

The study included 1 023 patients aged over 18 years who were hospitalised for heart failure. Of these, 105 had a previous stroke and 918 did not. To be eligible for the study, patients had to be well enough to travel to hospital and be interviewed.

Data on cardiovascular risk factors, comorbidities, and disease severity was collected through interviews, questionnaries, and clinical assessment at six, 12, and 18 months. Patients were followed up for three years. The researchers compared the risks of hospitalisation and mortality between heart failure patients with and without a history of stroke.

At the start of the study patients in the two groups were similar except that those with heart failure and stroke had more comorbidities than those with heart failure alone. Heart failure patients with a history of stroke fared significantly worse than those with heart failure alone across all…

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