ACC 2014 – Partner status affects outcomes for chronic heart failure patients

March 31, 2014 – Robert Mentz analyzes heart failure patient data from the HF-ACTION trial.

Recent study findings presented at the American College of Cardiology’s Scientific Sessions conference in Washington, DC indicate that having a life partner is associated with a significantly reduced risk of death or hospitalization for chronic heart failure patients. Life partnership was independently associated with a 12 percent reduction in all-cause death or hospitalization in this population.

robert-mentz-newsThe study was led by DCRI fellow Robert Mentz, MD, (pictured right) and used patient data from the HF-ACTION trial (Heart Failure: A Controlled Trial Investigating Outcomes of exercise traiNing). Dr. Mentz explained that HF-ACTION investigated the effects of exercise training for a cohort of more than 2300 heart failure patients with reduced ejection fraction. The present study used that same population to evaluate the associations between socioeconomic status, partner status, and clinical outcomes.

Although, in an unadjusted analysis, having a current partner and higher education or income level were each associated with reduced all-cause mortality or hospitalization, only partner status remained significantly associated with outcomes following risk adjustment. Dr. Mentz explained that the study showed the potential benefits of having a life partner for heart failure patients and that future studies of social support interventions may be warranted to identify strategies to improve outcomes in this high-risk patient population.

“The specific reasons for these findings require further study, but may relate to benefits due to medication adherence, improved follow-up, and quality of life,” said Dr. Mentz. “Potential benefits of having a current partner were identified in this study and should be explored in future research in order to inform clinical recommendations.”