Effects of self-management intervention on health outcomes of patients with heart failure: a systematic review of randomized controlled trials

BMC Cardiovasc Disord. 2006 Nov 2;6:43. doi: 10.1186/1471-2261-6-43.


Background: Heart failure is the most common cause of hospitalization among adults over 65. Over 60% of patients die within 10 years of first onset of symptoms. The objective of this study is to determine the effectiveness of self-management interventions on hospital readmission rates, mortality, and health-related quality of life in patients diagnosed with heart failure.

Methods: The study is a systematic review of randomized controlled trials. The following data sources were used: MEDLINE (1966-11/2005), EMBASE (1980-11/2005), CINAHL (1982-11/2005), the ACP Journal Club database (to 11/2005), the Cochrane Central Trial Registry and the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (to 11/2005); article reference lists; and experts in the field. We included randomized controlled trials of self-management interventions that enrolled patients 18 years of age or older who were diagnosed with heart failure. The primary outcomes of interest were all-cause hospital readmissions, hospital readmissions due to heart failure, and mortality. Secondary outcomes were compliance with treatment and quality of life scores. Three reviewers independently assessed the quality of each study and abstracted the results. For each included study, we computed the pooled odds ratios (OR) for all-cause hospital readmission, hospital readmission due to heart failure, and death. We used a fixed effects model to quantitatively synthesize results. We were not able to pool effects on health-related quality of life and measures of compliance with treatment, but we summarized the findings from the relevant studies. We also summarized the reported cost savings.

Results: From 671 citations that were identified, 6 randomized trials with 857 patients were included in the review. Self-management decreased all-cause hospital readmissions (OR 0.59; 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.44 to 0.80, P = 0.001) and heart failure readmissions (OR 0.44; 95% CI 0.27 to 0.71, P = 0.001). The effect on mortality was not significant (OR = 0.93; 95% CI 0.57 to 1.51, P = 0.76). Adherence to prescribed medical advice improved, but there was no significant difference in functional capabilities, symptom status and quality of life. The reported savings ranged from 1300 to 7515 dollars per patient per year.

Conclusion: Self-management programs targeted for patients with heart failure decrease overall hospital readmissions and readmissions for heart failure.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Health Status
  • Heart Failure / mortality
  • Heart Failure / physiopathology*
  • Heart Failure / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Patient Compliance
  • Patient Readmission / statistics & numerical data
  • Quality of Life
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Self Care*
  • Treatment Outcome