Heart failure occurs when the heart does not pump enough blood to support the organs.
In a study from Cedars-Sinai, scientists found phone calls from a nurse may improve survival for patients treated for heart failure.
Researchers have been studying ways to improve survival rates as about one-third of people with heart failure die within a year of being hospitalized.
Studies showed about 15% to 20% of people hospitalized for heart failure return to the hospital within 30 days.
In the study, the team examined 1,313 patients 50 years and older who were hospitalized for heart failure at six academic medical centers in California.
Half were assigned to receive a new post-hospitalization care plan, where patients received pre-discharge heart failure education, along with an average of five calls over a 180-day period.
Each patient in this group was also provided with a blood pressure monitor and scale.
Nurses scheduled regular phone calls to ask about weight, blood pressure, heart rate, and any unusual symptoms. Patients who reported abnormal results or symptoms received more follow-up calls.
The other half were assigned to usual care, which consisted of a nurse educating them about heart failure before being discharged and, for most patients, one call from the hospital once home.
The team grouped patients based on the number of their comorbidities, or how many other diseases and health conditions they had in addition to heart failure.
They found patients in the high comorbidity group who were in the intervention calling group were 25% less likely to die at 30 days and 180 days than patients in the control group.
They also stayed out of the hospital for a mean of 152 days versus a mean of 133 days for the patients who did not receive the calling intervention.
The team also found patients in the low and moderate comorbidity groups who received more frequent calls did not have any different outcomes than the patients who only received one phone call.
Readmission rates were similar for both the intervention and control groups.
The findings suggest that low-tech and old-fashioned talking on the phone, essentially monitoring the response to, ‘How are you feeling?’ can improve heart failure outcomes and can save lives.
If you care about heart health, please read studies about how eating eggs can help reduce heart disease risk, and Vitamin K2 could help reduce heart disease risk.
For more information about health, please see recent studies that olive oil may help you live longer, and Vitamin C is linked to a lower risk of heart failure.
The study was conducted by Ilan Kedan et al and published in the Journal of Cardiac Failure.
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