OBJECTIVE: Many patients with chronic heart failure (CHF) are thought to be non-adherent to their prescribed medications. The objective was to describe perceptions about and adherence to regular medicines and study medication at baseline and study end in CHF patients participating in a clinical trial. METHODS: In the carvedilol or metoprolol European trial (COMET), patients (N = 3029) with CHF were randomised and followed during a 58-month period. Patients at some Swedish centres answered a questionnaire at baseline and study end concerning their perception of their regular heart medication and study medication. Adherence was established through estimation of drug usage. RESULTS: In the Swedish sub-study, 302 patients responded once to the questionnaire while 107 patients responded both at baseline and at follow-up. At baseline, 94% of the patients stated that they believed that the study medication would make them feel better and 82% believed that their regular heart medication would do so. During the study, patients' belief in their regular cardiac medication significantly increased. Lack of belief in medication at the start of the study was a strong predictor of withdrawal from the trial (64% versus 6.8%; p
BACKGROUND: Few studies are published on heart failure patients in primary health care, in elderly in advanced age. OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to examine the accuracy of the diagnosis of heart failure in all men and women with focus on age and gender. METHODS: The patients were recruited from one selected primary health care in the city of Skellefteå, Sweden. The general practitioners included all patients who had symptoms and signs indicating heart failure. The patients were then referred for an echocardiographic examination and a final cardiology consultation. RESULTS: The general practitioners identified 121 women and 49 men with suspected heart failure of whom 39% (51 women and 16 men) were above 80 years. Women were significantly older than men (mean age 78 and 75 years, respectively, p = 0.03). The main symptom was dyspnoea (80%). Confirmed heart failure was verified in 45% of the patients and was significantly more common in men than women (p = 0.02). Of all men and women above 80 years, 75% and 22%, respectively (p = 0.01) had a verified systolic heart failure, while there were no significant gender differences in patients younger than 80. In a multivariate regression analysis taking gender, age, smoking, atrial fibrillation, hypertension, angina, myocardial infarction and diabetes into account, myocardial infarction (OR = 4.3, CL = 1.8-10.6) hypertension (OR = 3.4, CI = 1.6-6.9) atrial fibrillation (OR = 2.8, CL = 1.0-7.9) remained significantly predictive of a confirmed diagnosis of heart failure. CONCLUSION: This study showed the difficulty of diagnosing heart failure accurately based only on clinical symptoms, especially in women above 80 years.
AIMS: To evaluate the effect of atorvastatin in achieving stable sinus rhythm (SR) 30 days after electrical cardioversion (CV) in patients with persistent atrial fibrillation (AF). METHODS AND RESULTS: The study included 234 patients. The patients were randomized to treatment with atorvastatin 80 mg daily (n = 118) or placebo (n = 116) in a prospective, double-blinded fashion. Treatment was initiated 14 days before CV and was continued 30 days after CV. The two groups were well-balanced with respect to baseline characteristics. Mean age was 65 +/- 10 years, 76% of the patients were male and 4% had ischaemic heart disease. Study medication was well-tolerated in all patients but one. Before primary endpoint 12 patients were excluded. In the atorvastatin group 99 patients (89%) converted to SR at electrical CV compared with 95 (86%) in the placebo group (P = 0.42). An intention-to-treat analysis with the available data, by randomization group, showed that 57 (51%) in the atorvastatin group and 47 (42%) in the placebo group were in SR 30 days after CV (OR 1.44, 95%CI 0.85-2.44, P = 0.18). CONCLUSION: Atorvastatin was not statistically superior to placebo with regards to maintaining SR 30 days after CV in patients with persistent AF.
Within previous research on family care of terminally ill people, studies have only rarely been carried out concerning heart failure care. This study aims to illuminate meanings of being a close relative of a person with severe, chronic heart failure (CHF) in palliative advanced home care (PAHC). Narrative interviews were conducted with three close relatives, tape-recorded, transcribed verbatim and a phenomenological-hermeneutic method was used to interpret the text. Meanings of being a close relative is to follow the life-threatening ups and downs, the person with CHF is going through. This means being on primary call, always on standby to mediate security and pleasure. In the deepest downs it is also to call for the back-up call i.e. the PAHC team, trusting their ability to show up on time to alleviate in the worst downs i.e. ease suffering. This study reveals that to be the close relative that the ill person is dependent on 24 hours a day is both a comfort and a strain.
The objective of this study was to determine whether a first myocardial infarction leads to increased plasma levels of hemostatic factors and high sensitive C-reactive protein (hs-CRP) and whether the association between theses biomarkers and myocardial infarction was greater at follow-up compared with baseline. Of more than 36,000 persons screened in northern Sweden, 78 developed a first myocardial infarction (on average 18 months after sampling) in a population-based, prospective, nested patient-referent study. Fifty of these had participated in a follow-up health survey (on average 8 and a half years between surveys) and were sex-matched and age-matched with 56 referents. The mean increases in hs-CRP, tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) mass, plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 mass, and tPA/plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 complex concentration and von Willebrand factor among patients and referents were comparable during follow-up. Conditional logistic regression indicated that hs-CRP was not significantly associated with first myocardial infarction in a univariate analysis, whereas high plasma levels of tPA and creatinine were significantly associated with outcome at baseline and follow-up. tPA/plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 complex was not superior to tPA as a risk marker in this study. A first myocardial infarction did not in this study induce significantly different changes in plasma levels of hs-CRP and hemostatic factors among patients compared with referents during follow-up.
AIM: Combined effects of genetic and environmental factors underlie the clustering of cardiovascular risk factors in the metabolic syndrome (MetSy). The aim was to investigate associations between several lifestyle factors and MetSy, with a focus on the possible role of smokeless tobacco in the form of Swedish moist snuff (snus). METHODS: A population-based longitudinal cohort study within the Västerbotten Intervention Programme in Northern Sweden. All inhabitants at the ages of 30, 40, 50, and 60 are invited to participate in a health survey that includes a questionnaire on psychosocial conditions and lifestyle and measurement of biological variables. Individuals examined in 1990-94 (n = 24,230) and who also returned for follow-up after 10 years were included (total of 16,492 individuals: 46.6% men and 53.4% women). Regression analyses were performed. MetSy was the outcome and analyses were adjusted for age, sex, alcohol abuse, and family history of CVD and diabetes. RESULTS: Ten-year development of MetSy was associated with high-dose consumption of snus at baseline (OR 1.6 [95% CI 1.26-2.15]), low education (2.2 [1.92-2.63]), physical inactivity (1.5 [1.22-1.73]) and former smoking (1.2 [1.06-1.38]). Snus was associated with separate components of MetSy, including triglycerides (1.6, 1.30-1.95), obesity (1.7 [1.36-2.18]) but not hypertension, dysglycemia and low HDL cholesterol. CONCLUSIONS: MetSy is independently associated with high consumption of snus, even when controlling for smoking status. The finding is of public health interest in societies with widespread use of snus. More research is needed to better understand the mechanisms underlying this effect.
BACKGROUND AND RESEARCH OBJECTIVES: Depression is common among patients with heart failure (HF) and among elderly in general. Problems in diagnosing and care planning can arise as symptoms of HF, dyspnoea and especially fatigue, are nonspecific and also overlap with symptoms of depression. The objective of this study was to describe the prevalence and compare degrees of depression among patients with confirmed HF, patients with symptoms similar to HF (no heart failure, NHF) and a reference group in one primary healthcare centre (PHC), after adjusting for background characteristics and fatigue. SUBJECTS AND METHODS: A descriptive case-reference study was conducted in one PHC in a middle-sized city. Participants were 49 patients with confirmed HF, 59 patients with symptoms similar to HF (NHF) and 40 people in a reference group. After informed consent data were collected by structured interviews using the Geriatric Depression Scale and the Multidimensional Fatigue Inventory-20. Odds ratios for the outcomes HF vs. NHF, HF vs. reference group, and NHF vs. reference group were calculated. RESULTS: The HF and NHF groups had similar degrees of depression which were significantly higher than for the reference group. This difference between the groups did not remain significant when adjusting for physical fatigue. More patients in the NHF than in the HF group were living alone and there were more women in the NHF than in the reference group. CONCLUSIONS: Prevalence of depression and degrees of fatigue were higher among elderly from a PHC who experienced HF symptoms, independent of objectively measured heart function, compared with elderly without such symptoms. When comparing degrees of depression between the three groups and adjusting for fatigue, the physical dimension of fatigue was of greater importance in explaining group differences.
BACKGROUND: Risk reduction of myocardial infarction has been shown for leisure time physical activity. The results of studies on occupational physical activity and risk of myocardial infarction are incongruous and studies on commuting activity are scarce. The aim of this study was to investigate how commuting activity, occupational physical activity and leisure time physical activity were associated with risk of future first myocardial infarction. DESIGN: We used a prospective incident case-referent study design nested in Västerbotten Intervention Program and the Northern Sweden MONICA study. METHODS: Commuting habits, occupational physical activity, leisure time physical activity and cardiovascular risk factors were assessed at baseline screening and compared in 583 cases (20% women) with a first myocardial infarction and 2098 matched referents. RESULTS: Regular car commuting was associated with increased risk of myocardial infarction versus commuting by bus, cycling or walking [odds ratio (OR) 1.74; 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.20-2.52] after multivariate adjustment. High versus low leisure time physical activity was associated with reduced risk of myocardial infarction (OR 0.69; 95% CI, 0.50-0.95) after adjustment for occupational physical activity and commuting activity, but the association was not statistically significant after further multivariate adjustment. After multivariate adjustment we observed a reduced risk for myocardial infarction in men with moderate (OR 0.70; 95% CI, 0.50-0.98) or high (OR 0.67; 95% CI, 0.42-1.08) versus low occupational physical activity. CONCLUSIONS: We found a clear association between car commuting and a first myocardial infarction and a corresponding inverse association with leisure time physical activity, while the impact of occupational physical activity on the risk of myocardial infarction was weaker.
BACKGROUND: Fatigue is a common and distressing symptom in chronic heart failure (CHF). Most of the current methods for evaluating patients' symptoms fail to consider the meaning or importance that these symptoms have for the patient. AIM: To illuminate the lived experience of fatigue among elderly women with CHF. METHOD: Narrative interviews were conducted with 10 women with CHF, aged 73-89 years. Interviews were analysed with qualitative content analysis. RESULTS: The findings are presented in two themes and five subthemes. The first theme, 'living with the loss of physical energy', was based on three subthemes describing the experience of fatigue: 'experiencing a substantial presence of feebleness and unfamiliar bodily sensations', 'experiencing unpredictable variations in physical ability', and 'needing help from others in daily life'. The second theme, 'striving for independence while being aware of deteriorating health', describes how the women managed their life situation; it was based on two subthemes: 'acknowledging one's remaining abilities', and 'being forced to adjust and struggle for independence'. CONCLUSIONS: Fatigue was experienced as loss of physical energy, leading to discrepancies between intention and capacity. The will to reduce dependency on others involved a daily struggle against fatigue.
BACKGROUND: Patients with heart failure (HF) in primary healthcare are in many respects not comparable to those in specialized care and the knowledge about different patient groups with and without HF is limited. AIMS: To compare fatigue and health-related quality of life (Hr-QoL) when adjusting for age, gender and social provision in patients with confirmed HF (n=49) to a group of patients with symptoms indicating HF but without HF (NHF, n=59) and to an age-and sex-matched control-group (n=40). METHOD: A questionnaire including the Multidimensional Fatigue Inventory, the SF-36, and the Social Provisions Scale was used. RESULTS: The average age in all groups was 78 years. Patients in the HF and NHF groups reported worse physical QoL and more general and physical fatigue than the control group. HF patients had worse general health than the NHF group. CONCLUSION: Elderly patients in primary healthcare with confirmed heart failure and patients with symptoms similar to heart failure perceived they had a significantly worse physical QoL and more general and physical fatigue than an age- and sex-matched control group. The similarities between the patient groups indicate the importance of the symptom experience for Hr-QoL.