TUESDAY, May 7 (HealthDay News) -- Completing quality-of-life
surveys at a doctor's office could help heart disease patients live
longer and have better lives, according to a new statement from the
American Heart Association.
The statement urged doctors to use these surveys to assess
patients' heart health. The surveys reveal the impact of heart
disease on patients, including their symptoms, quality of life, and
ability to function physically and mentally.
Quality-of-life surveys can also help predict future events such
as heart attack, hospitalization, costs of care and death,
according to the statement published May 6 in the journal
"Ultimately, efforts to improve the health care system will only
be successful if they translate into better patient outcomes -- not
just longevity, but also how well patients live," statement lead
author Dr. John Rumsfeld said in an AHA news release.
"This statement recommends increasing the standardized
measurement of patient health status -- so we can better
understand, monitor and minimize the burden of disease on patients'
lives," he explained.
Researchers have successfully used patient surveys in clinical
trials and other studies, they but aren't used enough in routine
health care, according to Rumsfeld, national director of cardiology
for the U.S. Veterans Health Administration and a professor of
medicine at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, in
He suggested that doctors should have patients complete health
status surveys during their routine visits in order to assess their
heart health. Along with changes in physical health that might
indicate an increased risk for serious problems or death, surveys
can help reveal depression, which is common among heart disease
patients and can significantly worsen their heart health.
"Identification and treatment of depression in cardiovascular
patients can improve their quality of life," Rumsfeld said in the
The U.S. National Institutes of Health outlines steps you can
reduce heart risks.