Pain and quality of life in hospitalized patients with heart failure

J Pain Symptom Manage. 2008 Nov;36(5):497-504. doi: 10.1016/j.jpainsymman.2007.11.014. Epub 2008 Jul 10.


The pain experience of patients with heart failure (HF) and its impact on their quality of life (QOL) has not been described in sufficient detail. This study sampled patients hospitalized with HF to describe the prevalence and severity of bodily pain; evaluate differences in bodily pain related to selected demographic and disease-specific characteristics; and evaluate the effect of selected demographic, disease-specific characteristics, bodily pain, and mental health on QOL. Two items from the Medical Outcomes Study--Short Form (SF-36) were used to measure pain, and one subscale of the SF-36 was used to evaluate mental health. The Minnesota Living With Heart Failure Questionnaire was used to measure QOL. Patients with HF (n=93) had a mean age of 75 years, were predominantly male (65%), and lived alone (47.3%). Lung diseases and diabetes were the most common comorbidities; 58% were categorized as New York Heart Association (NYHA) Class III, whereas 58% of the sample was diagnosed with HF in the past four years. Of note, 85% of the patients reported pain and 42.5% said that it was in the severe or very severe range. No demographic variables were associated with pain, whereas a higher number of chronic conditions were associated with pain. SF-36 mental health and pain scores, as well as NYHA class, explained 34.1% of the variance in QOL in patients with HF. These data suggest that pain is highly prevalent and has a significant impact on the QOL of patients with HF. However, additional research is warranted to determine the specific causes and characteristics of pain in these patients.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Female
  • Heart Failure / diagnosis*
  • Heart Failure / epidemiology*
  • Hospitalization / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Norway / epidemiology
  • Pain / diagnosis*
  • Pain / epidemiology*
  • Pain Measurement / statistics & numerical data*
  • Quality of Life*
  • Risk Assessment / methods*
  • Risk Factors