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Identifying community based chronic heart failure patients in the last year of life: a comparison of the Gold Standards Framework Prognostic Indicator Guide and the Seattle Heart Failure Model


Objective To assess the clinical utility of the Gold Standards Framework Prognostic Indicator Guide (GSF) and the Seattle Heart Failure Model (SHF) to identify patients with chronic heart failure (CHF) in the last year of life.

Design, setting and patients An observational cohort study of 138 community based ambulatory patients with New York Heart Association (NYHA) class III and IV CHF managed by a specialist heart failure nursing team.

Main outcome measures 12 month mortality, and sensitivity and specificity of GSF and SHF.

Results 138 CHF patients with NYHA class III and IV symptoms were identified from a population of 368 ambulatory CHF patients. 119 (86%) met GSF criteria for end of life care. The SHF model identified six (4.3%) patients with a predicted life expectancy of 1 year or less. At the 12 month follow-up, 43 (31%) patients had died. The sensitivity and specificity for GSF and SHF in predicting death were 83% and 22%, and 12% and 99%, respectively. Receiver operator characteristic analysis of SHF revealed a C index of 0.68±0.05 (95% CI 0.58 to 0.77). Chronic kidney disease (serum creatinine ≥140 μmol/l) was a strong univariate predictor of 12 month mortality, with a sensitivity of 56% and specificity of 72%.

Conclusions Neither the GSF nor the SHF accurately predicted which patients were in the last year of life. The poor prognostic ability of these models highlights one of the barriers to providing timely palliative care in CHF.

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