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Loneliness translates to reduced life expectancy in cardiac patients

24 Dec 2019

Among men and women with known cardiac disease, feeling lonely is associated with poor patient-reported outcomes and 1-year mortality, as reported in a recent study.

Researchers used data from a national cross-sectional survey and looked at 13,443 patients (mean age, 66.1 years; 70 percent male) with ischaemic heart disease, arrhythmia, heart failure or heart valve disease. They assessed loneliness using one self-reported question and drew information on cohabitation from national registers.

Patient-reported outcomes included Short Form-12, Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale, and HeartQoL. On the other hand, clinical outcomes were 1-year cardiac events (myocardial infarction, stroke, cardiac arrest and ventricular tachycardia/fibrillation) and all-cause mortality.

Results revealed that loneliness conferred a negative effect on patient-reported outcomes in men and women across cardiac diagnoses. Loneliness was associated with up to a threefold increased risk of all-cause mortality (hazard ratio [HR] in men, 2.92, 95 percent confidence interval [CI], 1.55–5.49; HR in women, 2.14, 95 percent CI, 1.43–3.22).

Meanwhile, solitary living was associated with cardiac events in men only (HR, 1.39, 95 percent CI, 1.05 to 1.85).

In light of the findings, the researchers emphasized that loneliness be a priority for public health initiatives and be incorporated in clinical risk assessment in cardiac patients.

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