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Using Patient-Reported Outcomes in Heart Disease Clinical Practice

Heart valve patients’ lived experience should be considered when making disease management and treatment plans. 

But physicians, who often have just a few minutes with each patient, may not ask all the right questions to gain this critical insight. Both groups can benefit from the use of patient-reported outcome measures to close this gap, improve communication and provide context that can improve care.  

Assessing Quality of Life in Cardiac Patients 

For patients with heart valve disease, one such tool is the Kansas City Cardiomyopathy Questionnaire developed by John Spertus, MD. The 23-item tool allows patients to rate how much their cardiovascular symptoms, including shortness of breath and fatigue, limit their daily activities. 

Recent clinical trials used the self-reported questionnaire to translate individual experiences into quantitative data that can help doctors with evaluation of and treatment planning for their cardiovascular patients.  

Health status assessment is particularly important for documenting the benefit of transcatheter aortic valve replacement or transcatheter mitral valve repair on patients’ symptoms, function and quality of life. 

The ability to do everyday tasks like take a shower, walk from room to room, or sleep without being propped up in a chair may not come up in a clinical history. But patients’ abilities relative to these activities can provide relevant information about disease progression. Gathering this type of experiential data encourages physician-patient conversations about quality of life and optimal disease management.  

PRO Tools Empower Patient Conversations 

Similar questionnaires exist for a variety of health-related conditions and behaviors. They range from very specific, like assessing limb mobility in patients with multiple sclerosis, to very general, about gathering basic patient lifestyle and history.  

Tools like the KCCQ help patients communicate with their health care providers, understand their symptoms and strategize the management of their condition. In turn, more successful treatment plans can lead to better outcomes for patients.