Evaluating Health-Related Quality-of-Life Outcomes in Patients with Congestive Heart Failure: A Review of Recent Randomised Controlled Trials
Nancy K. Leidy
Anne M. Rentz
Teresa M. Zyczynski
Congestive heart failure (CHF) is a chronic disorder characterised by fatigue, shortness of breath and congestion. Treatment is designed to relieve symptoms, halt or delay progression of the disease, prolong life and, ultimately, improve quality of life. The purpose of this paper is to identify recent trends in the assessment of health-related quality-of-life (HR-QOL) outcomes in randomised, controlled trials evaluating treatment effectiveness in patients with CHF. 41 studies using HR-QOL as an explicit outcome and published in English between 1990 and September 1998 were reviewed. Trends in the measurement of HR-QOL and evidence of treatment effectiveness are presented followed by a discussion of the implications for future research. Results suggest that pharmacological and nonpharmacological treatment regimens can have a positive impact on HR-QOL. However, treatment-related improvement in exercise capacity in patients with CHF was not consistently associated with improvement in all domains of HR-QOL. The primary HR-QOL domain affected by treatment appears to be the performance of daily activities, which may or may not be accompanied by enhanced well-being. This suggests that functional status should be considered a primary HR-QOL end-point in clinical intervention trials. Preference-based or utility assessment, ethnic group differences in treatment effectiveness, caregiver burden and cost effectiveness are understudied outcomes in CHF research.
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