ESC Heart Failure (2020-10-01)

Prioritizing symptom management in the treatment of chronic heart failure

  • Aaron O. Koshy,
  • Elisha R. Gallivan,
  • Melanie McGinlay,
  • Sam Straw,
  • Michael Drozd,
  • Anet G. Toms,
  • John Gierula,
  • Richard M. Cubbon,
  • Mark T. Kearney,
  • Klaus K. Witte

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 7, no. 5
pp. 2193 – 2207


Read online

Abstract Chronic heart failure (CHF) is a chronic, progressive disease that has detrimental consequences on a patient's quality of life (QoL). In part due to requirements for market access and licensing, the assessment of current and future treatments focuses on reducing mortality and hospitalizations. Few drugs are available principally for their symptomatic effect despite the fact that most patients' symptoms persist or worsen over time and an acceptance that the survival gains of modern therapies are mitigated by poorly controlled symptoms. Additional contributors to the failure to focus on symptoms could be the result of under‐reporting of symptoms by patients and carers and a reliance on insensitive symptomatic categories in which patients frequently remain despite additional therapies. Hence, formal symptom assessment tools, such as questionnaires, can be useful prompts to encourage more fidelity and reproducibility in the assessment of symptoms. This scoping review explores for the first time the assessment options and management of common symptoms in CHF with a focus on patient‐reported outcome tools. The integration of patient‐reported outcomes for symptom assessment into the routine of a CHF clinic could improve the monitoring of disease progression and QoL, especially following changes in treatment or intervention with a targeted symptom approach expected to improve QoL and patient outcomes.