TUESDAY, Nov. 5, 2019 (HealthDay News) — For cardiac patients, loneliness is associated with poorer patient-reported outcomes and increased all-cause mortality, according to a study published online Nov. 4 in Heart.

Anne Vinggaard Christensen, from Copenhagen University Hospital in Denmark, and colleagues conducted a cross-sectional survey involving patients with known cardiac disease at hospital discharge. Loneliness was assessed using one self-reported question, and data on cohabitation were obtained from national registers. Clinical outcomes were one-year cardiac events and all-cause mortality, identified from national registers.

The survey was completed by 13,443 patients with ischemic heart disease, arrhythmia, heart failure, or heart valve disease. The researchers found that in men and women, loneliness correlated with significantly poorer patient-reported outcomes across cardiac diagnoses. Among women and men, loneliness predicted all-cause mortality (hazard ratios, 2.92 and 2.14, respectively). In men only, living alone predicted cardiac events (hazard ratio, 1.39).

“There are indications that the burden of loneliness and social isolation is growing. Furthermore, increasing evidence points to their influence on poor health outcomes being equivalent to the risk associated with severe obesity,” the authors write. “Public health initiatives should therefore aim at reducing loneliness.”

The study was partially funded by the Novo Nordisk Foundation.

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