Background: Although heart failure disproportionately affects older persons and is associated with significant physical disability, existing data on physical limitations and health-related quality of life (HRQL) derive largely from studies of younger subjects. We compared the relationship between functional limitation and HRQL between older and younger patients with heart failure. Methods and Results: We evaluated 546 outpatients with heart failure enrolled in a multicenter prospective cohort study. At baseline and 6 ± 2 weeks later, functional status was assessed by New York Heart Association (NYHA) classification and 6-minute walk testing. HRQL was measured with the Kansas City Cardiomyopathy Questionnaire (KCCQ). Comparing older (age >65 years, n = 218) and younger patients (n = 328), we assessed baseline HRQL across strata of functional status. In the 484 patients who completed follow-up (194 older and 290 younger patients), we also assessed the changes in HRQL associated with changes in functional status over time. At baseline, older patients had better HRQL than younger patients (mean KCCQ score 60 ± 25 versus 54 ± 28, P = .005) in spite of worse NYHA class (mean 2.54 versus 2.35, P < .001) and lower 6-minute walk distances (824 ± 378 versus 1064 ± 371 feet, P < .001). After multivariable adjustment including baseline NYHA class, older age was independently correlated with better HRQL (β = +7.9 points, P < .001). At follow-up, older patients with a deterioration in NYHA class experienced marked declines in HRQL compared with younger patients (mean HRQL change of -14.4 points versus +0.3 points, respectively, P < .001). Analyses using 6-minute walk distance as the functional measure yielded similar results. Conclusions: Although older patients with heart failure have relatively good HRQL in spite of significant functional limitations, they are at risk for worsening HRQL with further decline in functional status. These results underscore the importance of treatments aimed at maintaining functional status in older persons with heart failure, including those with significant baseline functional limitations.
- Functional status
- Heart failure
- Quality of life
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine