Objectives: To explore dying trajectories in heart failure.
Design: Prospective, longitudinal study.
Setting: Sixteen GP surgeries in four demographically contrasting areas of the UK.
Participants: A total of 27 heart failure patients, >60 years of age, who completed questionnaires for at least five time-points before death.
Main outcome measures: Kansas City Cardiomyopathy Questionnaire Physical Limitation Scale.
Results: No 'typical' dying trajectory could be identified, and only a minority of patients conformed to the theoretical trajectory of dying in heart failure.
Conclusions: This study provides the first prospective data regarding physical decline prior to death in heart failure. Findings challenge current efforts to plan and deliver palliative care services on the basis of the theoretical heart failure dying trajectory.