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2024 | HFSA

High Prevalence of Cognitive Impairment in Patients with Heart Failure Shown to Negatively Impact Disease Self-Management

HFSA News Journal of Cardiac Failure

WASHINGTON, DC (MARCH 12, 2024) - Cognitive impairment is prevalent in patients living with heart failure and was shown to negatively impact functional abilities, life expectancy, medication management and patient self-care, a statement released by the Heart Failure Society of America (HFSA) revealed. The Cognitive Impairment in Heart Failure: A Heart Failure Society of America Scientific Statement published today in the Journal of Cardiac Failure (JCF), indicates that clinicians have a responsibility to recognize and address cognitive impairment as an integral component of personalized care for patients with heart failure (HF).

Cognitive Impairment in Heart Failure outlines several domains affected by cognitive impairment including learning and memory, executive function, complex attention, perceptual-motor function, language, and social cognition. Many complex tasks that are a common part of patient medical management, such as daily weight checks, reading food labels, and managing diuretics, require the use and mastery of these key domains. This suggests patients who struggle to self-manage their disease may be struggling due to cognitive impairment, and heart failure clinicians should be equipped with tools and knowledge to assess and identify markers for cognitive impairment. The prevalence of cognitive impairment may be as high as 78%.

“Cognitive impairment is not the exception; it’s the norm for our patients with heart failure,” said co-lead author Eiran Z. Gorodeski, MD, MPH (University Hospitals Harrington Heart & Vascular Institute, and Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine). “We as clinicians must invest the extra effort to identify it, and then adjust management accordingly. In this Statement we summarize the state of the art, as well as the challenges and the unknowns.”

The Scientific Statement provides insights into screening tools for cognitive impairment, emphasizing their accessibility and ease of use for clinicians. Additionally, it outlines management strategies tailored to accommodate the challenges posed by cognitive impairment in self-care and medication management, and the importance of shared decision-making and advance care planning in this context.
“A core priority for HFSA is to improve heart failure care. Thanks to the work done by the co-authors of this HFSA Scientific Statement, cognitive impairment has been highlighted as a big part of the overall holistic care for patients living with heart failure,” said HFSA President James C. Fang, MD, FHFSA (University of Utah). “Increasing our attention to this important co-morbidity will ensure our patients receive comprehensive care."

The Cognitive Impairment in Heart Failure: A Heart Failure Society of America Scientific Statement is published online under Articles in Press at www.onlinejcf.com
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cardfail.2024.01.003