Cardiology Update 2011

Cardiology Update 2011

Read an exclusive collection of articles on recent topics in cardiology, including the link between CKD and atrial fibrillation, promoting self-care in heart failure patients, reducing the risk of CVD, and continuing statin therapy following hospitalization for...

Improving Health in Patients With Heart Failure

The American Heart Association (AHA) recently issued a scientific statement for the promotion of self-care in people with heart failure (HF). The statement, published in the September 22, 2009 issue of Circulation, highlights concepts and evidence that are important to the understanding and promotion of self-care in this patient group as well as others. “In recent years, physicians and professional associations have better recognized the critical need for and benefit from self-care among patients,” explains Barbara Riegel, DNSc, RN, FAHA, who chaired the committee that generated the scientific statement. “Tremendous advances have been made in medical therapies for HF, but clinicians often have difficulty with assisting HF patients in the integration of the daily self-care behaviors they need. These behaviors, however, are important to offsetting the burden of HF.” The AHA scientific statement aims to bring attention to the importance of self-care for HF and offers recommendations for physicians on how to promote self-care. While targeted to HF patients and the providers who manage them, the statement can also be applicable to primary care physicians. “HF is typically the final common pathway for other chronic conditions, such as hypertension and coronary artery disease,” says Dr. Riegel. “Anyone caring for a patient with diabetes, high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol, etc, can use the principles in this statement to promote self-care.” “Keeping lines of communication open between HF patients and providers is essential.” Defining Self-Care Self-care is defined in the AHA statement as a decision-making process that patients use to maintain their health through ongoing practices and healthy behaviors (Table 1). “Physicians should advise HF patients on the importance of these behaviors,” Dr....